Spanish powerhouses Madrid and Barcelona still alone in fight for Super League despite ruling

AP , Friday 22 Dec 2023

Real Madrid and Barcelona are struggling to find allies in their fight to revive the Super League project.

Perez
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez poses for a picture prior the 66th Ballon d Or ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. AP

 

The Spanish powerhouses were quick to claim victory and praise the decision by the European Union’s top court on Thursday to rule against the attempt by UEFA and FIFA to block plans for the breakaway competition.

But as the hours passed, there were no signs that they would get anybody else to join their crusade despite the favorable ruling.

Madrid and Barcelona faced an uphill battle trying to convincing other clubs to get back on board, but they were not likely to give up anytime soon.

“Allow me to tell the European clubs that we are at the dawn of a new era that will allow us to work freely, on the basis of constructive dialogue, without threats, without acting against anything or anyone, and with the aim of innovating and modernizing football in order to continue sustaining the fans’ passions,” Madrid president Florentino Pérez said in a statement.

The Super League deal would be especially important for Barcelona, which could potentially solve its financial difficulties if the competition was to be formed. The club said it was time to take action and invite “the parties to engage in a new phase of discussions.”

“As one of the clubs driving the Super League project, FC Barcelona feels that the sentence paves the way for a new elite level football competition in Europe by opposing the monopoly over the football world, and wishes to initiate new discussions as to the path that European competitions should take in the future,” the Catalan club said.

But none of the other 10 clubs involved in the original project expressed their desire to return. Italian club Juventus had been one of the three holdout clubs until finally withdrawing earlier this year. Although its new management took steps to move away from the project, former president Andrea Agnelli, one of the Super League's architects and whose family still owns the club, made a cryptic post on X — formerly known as Twitter — referencing a Juventus slogan that translates as “All the way to the finish,” accompanied by lyrics from a U2 song.

Madrid's and Barcelona's rival Atletico Madrid was one of the clubs to quickly reinstate their stance against the new competition.

“The European football community does not support the European Super League,” Atletico said in a statement. “Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain (except for Real Madrid and Barcelona), oppose the Super League. We advocate for protecting the broader European football family, preserving domestic leagues, and securing qualification for European competitions through on-field performance each season.”

The Premier League was among the leagues expressing their disagreement with the idea of the new competition, as were many teams and the European Club Association, which represents Europe’s top football clubs.

“Our position has not changed,” Manchester United said. “We remain fully committed to participation in UEFA competitions, and to positive cooperation with UEFA, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game.”

Madrid-based A22 Sports Management, the promoter of the Super League, immediately announced revised plans for the competition that would be a rival to the Champions League, Europe’s top club tournament. The newly proposed Super League would have promotion, relegation and exit from the breakaway competition.

The original idea introduced in April 2021 collapsed within 48 hours after vehement protests by fans, leagues and the soccer world in general.

“The present and the future of European football are in the hands of the clubs, the players and the fans,” Pérez said. “Our destiny now belongs to us and we have a great responsibility in our hands. This day marks a turning point. It is a great day in the history of football and sport in general.”

So far there was no history being done, though, as the Spanish rivals remained the only two clubs fighting for the breakaway competition.

“I hope they start their fantastic competition as soon as possible with two clubs,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said sarcastically.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: