Lawyer and author Felice Raimondo has revealed that he is in favour of the Super League and believes UEFA’s mistakes are to blame for the current situation.
In case you have missed it: 12 ‘elite’ European clubs have decided they are no longer happy with how UEFA run things and have decided to break off and form their own version of the Champions League. This is an idea that has been talked about for months, with Milan a founding member, but UEFA and FIFA have publicly hit back at the plans with a war of words having broken out in the media.
Raimondo – a lawyer and author of two books on sports law including ‘The Devil is in the details’ – spoke about the Super League in an interview with MilanLive and confirmed his belief that it is a good idea.
The Super League was born and a football war seems to have started. Are you for or against?
“I am in favour because the world economy is going through a very complicated moment and the Super League can immediately bring a lot of liquidity into the football system.”
How much room for maneuver do UEFA have for the exclusion of teams from other competitions? Is there really a risk that Milan could no longer play Serie A?
“If UEFA decides to exclude the 12 big players, it will have to do so on the basis of reasons that do not exist for me to date. In fact, the creation of an alternative competition is not legally impossible, however if it were not recognised by FIFA it would logically act outside the international regulatory perimeter. A sort of free zone where only the rules that the clubs will impose themselves will apply.”
Assuming that Serie A can really exclude the big three, what would be the economic and legal repercussions?
“The damage would be greater for the other 17 clubs, because a Serie A without the 3 big teams would be worth much less. Furthermore, the TV broadcasters would like to re-discuss the contracts just signed.”
In your opinion, what were the mistakes made by UEFA that led these top clubs to accelerate the project?
“In my opinion the most obvious mistake is called Financial Fair Play, at least in the way it was created and developed. A mechanism that has noble aims, that is to reduce debts, but which in essence has done nothing but crystallise the status quo of those who already had an excellent financial situation at the time of the birth of the FFP, i.e. ten years ago.
“Regulation which, moreover, has some gaps because it allows to settle the financial statements using strategic items such as sponsors from related parties and capital gains. In fact, in the last 10 years almost always the same clubs that had the strength or financial ability to overcome the FFP have won.”
In the interview with El Chiringuito, Florentino Perez spoke quite clearly, saying clubs could be dead by 2024. Is the economic situation of the big clubs really that dire?
“The future is known only to God, however something must be done to relaunch the football economy which is truly collapsing. Suffice it to say that Barcelona and Real – among many others – have lost hundreds of millions and in a few months they have economically jumped back many years. So I can understand Perez’s speech. It seems clear to me that the UEFA program did not satisfy the 12 founding clubs of the Super League which therefore rolled up their sleeves and took the initiative.”
After all the news released yesterday, do you think there is still the possibility of a dialogue between UEFA and the Super League to reach an agreement?
“I think it is in everyone’s interest to sit around a table and find an agreement. Just as it was done in the past with the Basketball Euroleague. The reason is very simple. It is not possible to stop the freedom of association, enterprise and establishment, fundamental principles of the EU and common to all the main democracies.
“FIFA and UEFA must acknowledge this and try to find a compromise. A football where there may also be competitions created by third parties, which obviously must accept the regulations and conditions of the international sports bodies. Mutual concessions, in short. But the process now seems irreversible to me.”