Super League shelved as more clubs withdraw
Inter, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid pull out; clubs face break-up fees
The European Super League collapsed yesterday as eight of the 12 founding members from England, Italy and Spain abandoned the breakaway project under massive pressure from fans, politicians, football officials and even the British royals.
However, rebel clubs that joined a breakaway league are facing break-up fees for ditching a binding agreement that threatened to overturn the hierarchy of the world’s most popular sport, two sources told Reuters.
But those like Real Madrid which are still holding on to the plan may enforce break-up fees on those who left, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Break-up fees are part of the contractual agreement between the clubs,” one of the sources said. “Since the club agreement has not collapsed yet, those who are pulling the plug will likely face consequences. Their departure would be consequence-free only if there was consensus on terminating the project,” he said.
Founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli told Reuters he was reluctantly calling time on the new league after six English clubs withdrew on Tuesday, with Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid following suit and AC Milan indicating they would too.
“The voices and the concerns of fans around the world have clearly been expressed about the Super League, and AC Milan must be sensitive to the voice of those who love this wonderful sport,” the Italian club said in a statement.
Agnelli said he still believed in the merits of the Super League despite the overwhelming criticism and had no regrets about how the breakaway had been conducted.
“I remain convinced of the beauty of that project,” Agnelli told Reuters, adding that it would have been the best competition in the world.
Juventus itself stopped short of saying the league was dead but said it recognised there were limited chances of the project being completed in the form originally conceived.
The Italian club said in a statement that it was aware certain clubs intended to leave but they had yet to complete the necessary procedures under the Super League agreement.
Players, fans, pundits and politicians celebrated the Uturns of the English teams on Tuesday that left the league in tatters and pushed other founding members to jump ship.
“This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country. We must continue to protect our cherished national game,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Liverpool’s principal owner John Henry apologised in a video on the club’s website and social media yesterday. “It goes without saying but should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans,” he said.