Barcelona president Joan Laporta is refusing to give up on the idea of a European Super League, claiming that the initiative is still ‘alive.’
A plan for a 12-team league, which would have included Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur, was shelved within 48 hours due to fan outcry, with nine teams withdrawing.
AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid joined the six Premier League clubs in withdrawing, and all nine have now rejoined the European Clubs’ Association.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus, on the other hand, have not returned to the ECA and remain hopeful of presenting the world’s’most attractive competition.’
‘The Super League? The project is alive,’ Laporta told Onze TV.
‘UEFA cannot act against us. We will see what the courts say.
‘All the pressure put on the English clubs is useless if the courts accept the project.
‘If the Super League goes ahead, it will be the most attractive competition in the world and it will help a lot financially.’
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus hope the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will rule in their favour and permit the concept of a Super League not run by UEFA.
The Super League plans stunned world football – not least UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin – when they were announced in April.
But they provoked anger across fan groups in Europe, most notably in England, with Chelsea the first to withdraw – soon followed by their English counterparts – following supporter anger outside Stamford Bridge and across the country.
Owners – such as Liverpool’s John W Henry and then-United chief Ed Woodward – gave grovelling apologies as the plans were thrown out, but Real, Barca and Juve never formally withdrew.
The nine former rebel clubs have already agreed to a financial settlement with UEFA, accepting fines as an acknowledgement of wrongdoing for trying to split from existing competition structures. They made a combined payment of £12.7m and will give up five per cent of revenue for one season playing in Europe.
In a move to prevent them deploying the Super League threat again, the clubs have also agreed to be fined £84.9m if they seek again to play in an unauthorised competition or £42.4m if they breach any other commitments to UEFA as part of the settlement.
Speaking at the ECA’s conference in Geneva on Monday, Ceferin fired a warning to Laporta and his Super League allies amid talk of them reviving their breakaway bid.
‘In 2020 and 2021 nothing has been normal,’ he said.
‘Now what we all want is to return to normality. But for that, it’s essential to maintain unity in the face of the misfortune and talkative Super League.
‘The ESL has been an episode, that we do not want to live again . We have to be united and be a model for football.’
Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli has lost his position as head of the ECA and has been replaced by Paris Saint-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who never allowed the French side to be dragged into the Super League plans.
‘I will not spend much time talking about 18 April and the ‘not-so-Super League’ because I do not like to focus on fabulists and failures,’ said Al-Khelaifi in Geneva in his first address as head of the ECA.
‘Together we defended the interests of European football for everyone. We relied on the resolve and strength of [UEFA] president [Aleksander Ceferin], who stood up to the midnight coup. He said ‘we will win’ and we did.
‘While the three rebel clubs waste energies, twist narratives and continue to shout at the sky, the rest of us are moving forward