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Request for a preliminary ruling from the Juzgado de lo Mercantil n.º 17 de Madrid (Spain) lodged on 27 May 2021 – European Super League Company, S.L. v Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

(Case C-333/21)

Language of the case: Spanish

Referring court

Juzgado de lo Mercantil n.º 17 de Madrid

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: European Super League Company, S.L.

Defendants: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

Questions referred

Must Article 102 TFEU be interpreted as meaning that that article prohibits the abuse of a dominant position consisting of the stipulation by FIFA and UEFA in their statutes (in particular, Articles 22 and 71 to 73 of the FIFA Statutes, Articles 49 and 51 of the UEFA Statutes, and any similar article contained in the statutes of the member associations and national leagues) that the prior approval of those entities, which have conferred on themselves the exclusive power to organise or give permission for international club competitions in Europe, is required in order for a third-party entity to set up a new pan-European club competition like the Super League, in particular where no regulated procedure, based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria, exists, and taking into account the possible conflict of interests affecting FIFA and UEFA?

Must Article 101 TFEU be interpreted as meaning that that article prohibits FIFA and UEFA from requiring in their statutes (in particular, Articles 22 and 71 to 73 of the FIFA Statutes, Articles 49 and 51 of the UEFA Statutes, and any similar article contained in the statutes of the member associations and national leagues) the prior approval of those entities, which have conferred on themselves the exclusive power to organise or give permission for international competitions in Europe, in order for a third-party entity to create a new pan-European club competition like the Super League, in particular where no regulated procedure, based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria, exists, and taking into account the possible conflict of interests affecting FIFA and UEFA?

Must Articles 101 and/or 102 be interpreted as meaning that those articles prohibit conduct by FIFA, UEFA, their member associations and/or national leagues which consists of the threat to adopt sanctions against clubs participating in the Super League and/or their players, owing to the deterrent effect that those sanctions may create? If sanctions are adopted involving exclusion from competitions or a ban on [OR 30] participating in national team matches, would those sanctions, if they were not based on objective, transparent and objective criteria, constitute an infringement of Articles 101 and/ or 102 of the TFEU?

Must Articles 101 and/or 102 TFEU be interpreted as meaning that the provisions of Articles 67 and 68 of the FIFA Statutes are incompatible with those articles in so far as they identify UEFA and its national member associations as ‘original owners of all of the rights emanating from competitions … coming under their respective jurisdiction’, thereby depriving participating clubs and any organiser of an alternative competition of the original ownership of those rights and arrogating to themselves sole responsibility for the marketing of those rights?

If FIFA and UEFA, as entities which have conferred on themselves the exclusive power to organise and give permission for international club football competitions in Europe, were to prohibit or prevent the development of the Super League on the basis of the abovementioned provisions of their statutes, would Article 101 TFEU have to be interpreted as meaning that those restrictions on competition qualify for the exception laid down therein, regard being had to the fact that production is substantially limited, the appearance on the market of products other than those offered by FIFA/UEFA is impeded, and innovation is restricted, since other formats and types are precluded, thereby eliminating potential competition on the market and limiting consumer choice? Would that restriction be covered by an objective justification which would permit the view that there is no abuse of a dominant position for the purposes of Article 102 TFEU?

Must Articles 45, 49, 56 and/or 63 TFEU be interpreted as meaning that, by requiring the prior approval of FIFA and UEFA for the establishment, by an economic operator of a Member State, of a pan-European club competition like the Super League, a provision of the kind contained in the statutes of FIFA and UEFA (in particular, Articles 22 and 71 to 73 of the FIFA Statutes, Articles 49 and 51 of the UEFA Statutes, and any other similar article contained in the statutes of national member associations [and] national leagues) constitutes a restriction contrary to one or more of the fundamental freedoms recognised in those articles?

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