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8 May, 2021 11:50

Super League rebels Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus lash out at UEFA as they cling to project despite threat of two-year ban

Super League rebels Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus lash out at UEFA as they cling to project despite threat of two-year ban

Defiant European Super League rebels Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have refused to give up on the project while hitting out at UEFA after the governing body sanctioned nine fellow founder members of the ill-fated scheme.

The continental giants began by claiming that the founding clubs have "suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon" the ESL.

This treatment, they complained, has therefore denied them "their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue" and is "intolerable under the rule of law".

Tribunals, they pointed out, "have already ruled in favor 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 trio later moved on to the other nine original clubs who pulled out by stating: "We regret to see that our friends and founding partners of the Super League project have now found themselves in such an inconsistent and contradictory position when signing a number of commitments to UEFA."

"We reiterate that, to honor our history, to comply with our obligations towards our stakeholders and fans, for the good of football and for the financial sustainability of the sector, we have the duty to act in a responsible manner and persevere in the pursuit of adequate solutions, despite the unacceptable and ongoing pressures and threats received from UEFA."

And though Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus admitted they were ready to rethink the approach of their rebel breakaway league amid widespread backlash from their own supporters and general football fans, they insisted it would "highly irresponsible” to completely abandon the project.

"We are fully aware of the diversity of reactions to the Super League initiative and, consequently, of the need to reflect on the reasons for some of them," they said.

"[And] we are ready to reconsider the proposed approach, as necessary."

"However, we would be highly irresponsible if, being aware of the needs and systemic crisis in the football sector... we abandoned such mission to provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry," the message concluded.

The update on their position comes in light of the nine clubs formally accepting punishment from UEFA for their failed exit, which fell apart in a 72-hour timeframe once an announcement to breakaway from the Champions League was announced late on the evening of Sunday April 19.

As was revealed yesterday, a Premier League 'Big Six' - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur - plus Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan, will pay an $18.2 million "goodwill gesture" in aid of children's and grassroots football across the continent as a way of apologizing.

Furthermore, they will also be docked 5 percent of their revenue from participating in the UCL or Europa League for one season, which will be redistributed, and also face a whopping fine of $121.6 million if attempting to join an unauthorized competition in the future. 

Half of that sum will be charged if the clubs breach any other parts of a declaration to behave themselves, UEFA said in a statement, while Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus will face "appropriate action".

"I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organization to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that," commented president Aleksander Ceferin on the matter.

"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," he confirmed.

"These clubs recognized their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football. The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called 'Super League' and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently," Ceferin vowed, in a nod to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus.

According to reports, UEFA are weighing up a possible two-year ban from the Champions League or Europa League for the remaining Super League rebels.

The English Football Association said that it welcomed news from UEFA on resolving matters "with all of the English clubs involved in the proposed European Super League" and was "delighted" that they have "committed to UEFA's club competitions going forward".

"The FA has an ongoing inquiry into the involvement of the six English clubs and we have formally requested all relevant information and evidence regarding their participation," it confirmed.

"Once we have the required information, we will consider what appropriate steps to take."

Back on social media, opinion was divided on this morning's statement. 

Some pointed to the "financial hole" the clubs are in, which leads them to push for the ESL and its $300 million+ loan from JP Morgan.

Others backed their resilience against the "corrupt monopoly" UEFA enjoys, and congratulated them for not "bowing down to the mob".

Yet calmer heads made calls to "create room for dialogue to establish numerous facts and opinions that can promote equal minds". "Not this threat to sanction them".

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