Perez takes aim at UEFA in Super League row

by 24USATVNov. 20, 2021, 10 p.m. 18
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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has again blasted UEFA for its opposition to the Super League, vowed to push ahead with the project and said he expects the courts to back his vision for European football.

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UEFA's disciplinary action against Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus over the scheme is on hold while the European Court of Justice (ECJ) studies whether the actions of football's governing body breach EU competition laws.

"Maybe UEFA have to be reminded who Real Madrid are," Perez said in a speech at the club's annual general meeting, to applause and chants of "Kings of Europe" from members.

"UEFA have to be reminded of Real Madrid's history. Real Madrid have participated in every necessary innovation over the years since its foundation... The current state of football leaves us no choice but to keep defending our legitimate interests."

The Super League project appeared to collapse in April when nine of the original 12 founding clubs -- six of them from the Premier League -- announced their withdrawal, just days after the project's launch.

However Madrid, Barca and Juventus are still committed to moving forward with the plans, and secured an injunction against UEFA in a Spanish court, which referred the case to the ECJ.

"The virulence of UEFA's reaction to the mere announcement [of the Super League] confirmed the necessity of the project to recover our freedom," Perez said on Saturday. "UEFA rejected any dialogue. They threatened the clubs with penalties which were improper under the rule of law... They wanted to end the Super League, but (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus) have carried on."

He added: "The courts have protected the Super League, obliging UEFA to annul their disciplinary processes and leaving without effect the shameful fines imposed on the other nine clubs... Spanish justice took the case to the European courts, which will issue a binding ruling on UEFA's monopoly. This process must seriously worry UEFA, because they have done the possible and impossible to try to stop it."

Perez also criticised UEFA's plans to review financial fair play regulations, after president Aleksander Ceferin admitted earlier this year that rules "will probably have to adapt" in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We've all heard the UEFA president talk about his desire to make FFP rules more flexible," Perez said. "That would seriously compromise the future of the game. European clubs need independent, transparent rules, without conflicts of interest, against the growing threat of actors outside the EU who use European football to other ends. It's fundamental that all football clubs survive on what they generate."

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