Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona have released a joint statement slamming ‘unacceptable pressures, threats and offences’ to scrap the Super League project, turning on the nine clubs that have signed a deal with UEFA.
Europe’s biggest clubs are at war amid the fallout of the disastrous £3.5bn plot that threatened the football landscape.
On Friday, nine of the 12 participating clubs agreed a peace deal with UEFA and accepted fines worth millions of pounds for their roles in the scheme, while Aleksander Ceferin threatened heavy punishments for the three clubs still committed to the breakaway league, including a two-year suspension from the Champions League.
But Spanish duo Madrid and Barcelona, as well as Italian giants Juve, are refusing to let the project die and have joined forces to release a statement in which they have hit out at pressure applied to them to back down from their stance.
“The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offences to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue,’ the statement read.
“This is intolerable under the rule of law and Tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending.’
The statement goes onto explain that the much-maligned Super League was designed to ‘provide solutions to the current unsustainable situation in the football industry’ and that ‘structural reforms are indispensable to ensure our sport stays appealing and survives in the long-term’.
The trio of clubs also condemned UEFA and FIFA for ‘refusing to establish any adequate channel of communication’ while maintaining that all 12 clubs ‘acknowledged that the Super League was a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport, which is not a “given” and is challenged by new generational trends.’
The three European giants who are yet to renounce the Super League have also warned their former partners they will extract millions of dollars in penalties if they walk away from the league, according to the New York Times.
UEFA president Ceferin described the three remaining clubs as ‘flat-earthers’ in an exclusive interview with Sportsmail last month, and the Slovenian refused to back down in his statement released on Friday.
‘I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that,’ he said of the nine withdrawn clubs.
In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit.
‘The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK.’
The tone when discussing Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona was strikingly different, however, and the UEFA chief is prepared to hand the trio heavy sanctions.
‘UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called ‘Super League’,’ the statement concluded.
‘The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies.’