UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Real, Barca and Juve

The clubs are the only three of the original 12 to have not distanced themselves from the project following an outpouring of criticism.

The three holdouts have begun legal action in a Madrid court against UEFA and world football body FIFA to defend their roles in the efforts to form the rebel Super League.   -  File picture

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus over their attempts to launch a breakaway Super League, European football's governing body said on Tuesday.

The clubs are the only three of the original 12 to have not distanced themselves from the project following an outpouring of criticism.

"Following an investigation conducted by UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspectors in connection with the so-called 'Super League' project, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus FC for a potential violation of UEFA's legal framework," UEFA said.

"Further information will be made available in due course."

READ: Real, Barca, Juve denounce intolerable pressure to abandon Super League

The Super League was launched with 12 clubs as founding members, but nine of them -- Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid -- have since backed out and reached a deal with UEFA.

Those clubs agreed to UEFA’s terms to forfeit 5% of their prize money from European competitions in the 2022-23 season and pay a combined 15 million euros ($18.4 million) as a “gesture of goodwill” to benefit children, youth and grassroots football.

For a storied club, a successful season in the Champions League currently earns around 100 million euros ($122.5 million) in UEFA prize money.

The agreement also saw the nine clubs consent to be fined 100 million euros ($122.5 million) if they seek again to play in an unauthorized competition or 50 million euros ($61.2 million) if they breach any other commitments to UEFA as part of the settlement.

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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warned the clubs last month that “if they say we are a Super League, then they don’t play Champions League, of course.”

UEFA gave no timetable for the expected disciplinary cases against the three which have all qualified on merit for the Champions League next season.

READ: The dirty dozen: How the European Super League lost steam

Any bans for the clubs — and elevation of other Spanish and Italian teams to replace them — would likely lead to appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and pressure to resolve the cases before next season’s European competitions. The Champions League group-stage draw is on Aug. 26 and matches start on Sept. 14.

The Super League project was publicly launched late at night on April 18 then imploded within 48 hours amid a furious backlash from fans and threats of legislation by the British government.

The three holdouts have begun legal action in a Madrid court against UEFA and world football body FIFA. A judge has asked the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to consider if restrictions on the rebel clubs are breaking European Union laws.

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