Florentino Perez: ‘Super League ruling is great day for history of football’

Florentino Perez: ‘Super League ruling is great day for history of football’

Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez hails a “great day for the history of football” as a court rules in favour of the European Super League against FIFA and UEFA.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has hailed a “great day for the history of football” after the momentous European Super League decision by the European Court of Justice.

On Thursday morning, the ESL and its backers A22 Sports won their case against FIFA and UEFA, who were found to have acted unlawfully in their attempts to block clubs from joining the breakaway competition.

Back in April 2021, Real Madrid were one of 12 European titans to sign up for the once-doomed project, which was met with incessant backlash from supporters, pundits and players alike.

Fans protested en masse outside Premier League stadiums in the wake of the competition’s inception, which led to all of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur withdrawing from the project.

Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid also pulled out of the plans, leaving Perez’s Real, Barcelona and Juventus as the only three clubs committed to the plans before the Italian giants also ended their involvement this summer amid the fear of severe sanctions.

A message of #SayNoToSuperLeague flies over the stadium before the match as fans protest the planned European Super League© Reuters

FIFA and UEFA had threatened to impose unprecedented penalties on teams intending to join the Super League, including expulsion from competitions, but the court has now ruled that the governing bodies are “abusing a dominant position”.

In a statement, Perez – who has been one of the most vocal supporters of the ESL project – labelled the ruling a ‘triumph’ for clubs and fans, despite the enormous scale of protests against the Super League from incandescent supporters two years ago.

“At Real Madrid we welcome with enormous satisfaction the decision adopted by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which is responsible for guaranteeing our principles, values ​​and freedoms,” Perez said. “In the coming days we will carefully study the scope of this resolution, but I do anticipate two conclusions of great historical significance.

“Firstly, that European club football is not and will never again be a monopoly. And secondly, that from today the clubs will be the masters of their destiny. The clubs see our right to propose and promote European competitions that modernize our sport and attract fans from all over the world fully recognized. In short, today the Europe of freedoms has triumphed again and today football and its fans have also triumphed.

“In the face of the pressures that we have received for more than two years, law, reason and freedom prevail today. And for this reason, Real Madrid will continue working for the good of football. Just as almost seventy years ago we took a fundamental step in the history of football with the creation of the European Cup, today we once again have the duty and responsibility to give European football the new impetus it so badly needs.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez on September 24, 2023© Reuters

“And to achieve this, we will continue to defend a modern project, fully compatible with national competitions, open to all, based on sporting merit and that will effectively impose respect for financial fair play. A project that will bring economic sustainability for all clubs and that above all will protect the players and excite fans around the world.

“We will do it despite the campaigns we have suffered and which, without a doubt, will intensify from today. But no one said that ending a monopoly after so many decades was easy.
We are facing a great opportunity to improve European club football. A football at the height of the 21st century, with transparent governance, that knows how to coexist with new technologies and that once again provokes the passion and emotion that fans really need.

“Allow me to tell the European clubs that we are at the beginning of a new time in which we can work freely through constructive dialogue, without threats, without acting against anything or anyone and with the aim of innovating and modernizing football to continue. fueling the passion of the fans.

“From today, the present and future of European football are finally in the hands of the clubs, the players and their fans. Our destiny belongs to us and we have a great responsibility before us. This day will mark a before and after. It is a great day for the history of football and for the history of sports.”

A22 Sports are also due to hold a press conference in the wake of the ruling, although the committed clubs still have several hoops to jump through before a reborn Super League can be launched.

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