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NYON, Switzerland, Sept 28, (AP): UEFA has been forced to abandon its attempt to ban Super League clubs Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid from the Champions League due to court action over the governing body’s attempt to punish the rebellion. A Spanish court injunction in June led to UEFA initially pausing the disciplinary case against the clubs who refused to renounce the project which collapsed in April. A renewed demand last week from a Madrid judge for UEFA officials to comply with the ruling not to sanction the clubs led to the disciplinary case being officially scrapped . The UEFA case was launched in the fallout from the stunning launch of the Super League by 12 clubs in April.
The plan to split from the existing Champions League run by UEFA collapsed within 48 hours after the English clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester clubs United and City – pulled out amid a backlash from their own fans and the government. Three of the other Super League founding members – AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atlético Madrid – also quickly backed out. The nine clubs agreed on a settlement deal with UEFA which would see them forfeit 5% of their prize money from a single season in European competition and pay a combined 15 million euros ($18.3 million) also as a “gesture of goodwill” to benefit children, youth and grassroots football. No cash will now be handed over.
A Spanish judge last week gave UEFA five days to confirm it will abide by the court’s ruling and not punish the teams for their involvement in the Super League. Their case was also notified by the judge in Madrid to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. A deadline for submissions to the court is next month. UEFA could open a new disciplinary case at a later point against Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus if it wins the European case. UEFA said it “will continue to take all necessary steps, in strict accordance with national and EU law, in order to defend the interests of UEFA and of all football stakeholders.” Meanwhile,UEFA took legal action to remove the judge from a Spanish court case thwarting the attempt to punish Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus for their involvement in the ill-fated Super League breakaway. The move could eventually lead to disciplinary action restarting against the rebel clubs after it was abandoned . “UEFA has filed a motion for the recusal of the judge presiding over the current proceedings as it believes there are significant irregularities in these proceedings,” European football’s governing body said in a statement. “In line with Spanish law – and in the fundamental interests of justice – UEFA fully expects the judge in question to immediately stand aside pending the full and proper consideration of this motion.”