Fiorentina blast Super League as plan to plug big clubs' debts

AFP , Saturday 23 Dec 2023

Italian side Fiorentina have blasted plans for a breakaway Super League as merely a way for Europe's biggest football clubs to plug gaps in their troubled finances.

Fiorentina s Rolando Mandragora, left, and Hellas Verona s Darko Lazovic fight for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between ACF Fiorentina and Hellas Verona at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Italy, Sunday Dec. 17, 2023. AP


Promoters of the Super League announced a new competition on Thursday after the European Union's top court ruled that UEFA had used illegal tactics to stifle a previous project launched in April 2021 which sparked fan and institutional fury.

Clubs and other bodies across Europe have reiterated either their reluctance to join or outright hostility towards the revised project, which is promoted by A22 Sports Management but pushed principally by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Fiorentina, the losing finalists in this year's Europa Conference League final organised by UEFA, said the Super League project was merely a cynical move by members of Europe's footballing aristocracy who have stretched their finances in a bid to compete with the Premier League and Gulf state-backed clubs.

"We believe the launch of a new competition as intended by the organisers to be a huge threat to domestic leagues on many levels. The Club believes that the Italian football movement... would be profoundly damaged by this new tournament," said Fiorentina in a statement released on Friday night.

"It seems that certain clubs –- in some cases with huge debts and financial difficulties –- are planning new systems merely so they can pay off their debts and increase the gap with other clubs that have their finances in order."

Inter Milan, one of the clubs that signed up to the original plan, eventually aborted the project, and Roma are among the Italian clubs to also state their opposition to a 64-team Super League.

Juventus and AC Milan have remained tight-lipped, with Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri simply saying on Friday that "it's not up to me to speak about it".

Juve were one of the key proponents of the original project under previous president Andrea Agnelli, who this year was banned by Italy's football federation for a combined total of 40 months in separate sporting trials for financial malpractice.

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