Competition law would favour ESL says university legal expert - The Solihull Observer

Competition law would favour ESL says university legal expert

Solihull Editorial 21st Apr, 2021   0

AN EU sports law expert says UEFA would be acting illegally if it threatened to ‘blacklist’ footballers for taking part in a European Super League should such proposals come to fruition.

Dr Stuart MacLennan, Associate Professor of Law at Coventry University, said ‘disruption’ to sport should not always be looked on as a bad thing as previous incidents had led to improvements in football and other sports.

“What we must not forget is that the Premier League was a breakaway league and we have also seen similar examples in darts and women’s tennis,” he said.

“The WTA tour was a breakaway competition and brought vast improvements to the women’s game.”

Plans for the European Super League were unveiled over the weekend, sending shockwaves across the footballing world.

Many high profile people both inside the beautiful game and outside of it, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William, have spoken out against the plans for a European Super League.

Solihull MP Julian Knight has also voiced his condemnation of the plan as has West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

They argue it would go against competition as those teams would have guaranteed places in the league and, with no promotion or relegation, other clubs would not have the opportunity to take part.

But Dr MacLennan said although it was ‘a huge blow to UEFA’s commercial dominance in the sport’, its monopoly was due to a ‘total lack of competition of competitions’ and any action to ‘blacklist’ players would be illegal in the eyes of the European Court of Justice.

Likewise he said similar threats by the Premier League to ‘throw clubs out’ would fall foul of UK Competition Law.

He said it was a case of ‘watching this space’ but predicted there could be concessions on both sides with maybe the Champions League being revamped.


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