In April 2021, football fans around Europe united in an almost-unprecedented way to rise up against a proposal for a new European Super League. The plan fell apart very quickly after that, but wasn’t killed off completely, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus trying to keep it alive.
However, Juventus have now started proceedings to pull out of this new project, which would leave just the two Spanish giants still championing the idea, with other European clubs still stung by the criticism they received two years ago.
In the announcement on Thursday, the Italian club said: “Following such discussions, and given the existing discrepancies on the interpretation of the relevant contractual terms applicable to the Super League Project, Juventus confirms that it has initiated the procedure to exit.”
Juventus have had a difficult few months, with the departure of president Andrea Agnelli in the midst of yet another controversy about the way the club has been run, while a 10 point penalty left them finishing seventh in Serie A.
Juve effectively need permission from Barcelona and Madrid to leave, but it seems unlikely that they would be held there against their will, even though their departure would leave the future of the Super League Project very much in doubt.
Super League Plans
The initial European Super League had long been the subject of speculation as some of Europe’s top clubs looked at ways to wrest more power for themselves away from UEFA and its Champions League.
There had been abortive plans in the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s that never went beyond the planning stages, largely because UEFA caught wind of the schemes and threatened sanctions against the clubs involved.
Real Madrid – despite their prestigious record in the Champions League – have long agitated against UEFA’s power, with president Florentino Perez often making public his plans, but it wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic that they began to start to look like they would actually happen.
The pandemic and its enforced stadium closures hit all football clubs hard, even giants like Madrid, and Perez was able to get a total of 12 clubs to sign up for a new European Super League, with his club joined by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Internazionale, Juventus, Milan, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
However, if those clubs expected a positive reaction to their joint press release, they were to get a shock. UEFA and all of the relevant governing bodies and existing leagues in England, Spain and Italy immediately condemned the plans, effectively making them all outcasts.
Other clubs, including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain – who had all rejected an invitation to join – joined in the outrage, as did current and former players and some managers of the clubs who had signed up.
But the final nail in its coffin seemed to come from furious fan protests outside stadia, particularly in England. By April 21, all Premier League clubs had pulled out, effectively making the ESL non-viable, especially when they were followed by Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan.
That left just Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus to try and keep their dream alive, but two years on, does Juve’s desire to leave this new project mean the complete collapse of another potential Super League?
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.