Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have issued a joint statement vowing to “persevere in the pursuit of adequate solutions” amid the fallout from the European Super League and what they see as “threats” from UEFA.
Nine of the original 12 European Super League clubs – including the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ – declared their commitment to UEFA and its competitions at continental and domestic level on Friday.
However, the three who have not renounced the European Super League – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – are set to face “appropriate action” under UEFA’s disciplinary action.
We are looking at the prospect of Real Madrid not playing in the Champions League next season. Juventus will not be playing in it. Barcelona will not be playing in it. Unless they can sit down and come up with a compromise with UEFA.
The trio of clubs released a coordinated statement on Saturday, denouncing the “intolerable” pressure put on them by UEFA to drop the project.
It read: “In relation to the statement released by UEFA on the 7th May in respect of the Super League and the position taken by 9 of its founding clubs, Fútbol Club Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol state the following:
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus still refusing to give up on Super League. Joint statement says they want to talk to UEFA and FIFA about way forward. European ban likely unless they fall into line.
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) May 8, 2021
“I- The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue.
“This is intolerable under the rule of law and Tribunals have already ruled in favour 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.
UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called ‘Super League’.
“II- The Super League project was designed jointly by its 12 founding clubs:
“a. with the aim of providing solutions to the current unsustainable situation in the football industry. The 12 founding clubs shared the same concerns -as other stakeholders in European football do-, particularly under the current socio-economic context, that structural reforms are indispensable to ensure our sport stays appealing and survives in the long-term.
“To that effect, on 18th April, they announced their willingness to create the Super League and establish a channel of communication with UEFA and FIFA, in a constructive spirit of collaboration between the parties, as it was so notified to each of them on such date;
“b. with the utmost respect for the current football structures and ecosystem. The founding clubs expressly agreed that the Super League would only take place if such a competition was recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA or if, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, it was deemed to be a competition duly compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions.
“However, despite being aware of the above terms, UEFA and FIFA have so far refused to establish any adequate channel of communication; and
“c. to bring financial stability to the entire European football family, currently under the effects of a deep crisis that threatens the survival of many clubs.
“Testament of it, the announced commitment to establish annual solidarity payments for guaranteed annual amounts that materially multiply those distributed by UEFA, and the obligation to reinforce financial sustainability rules, through the creation of a clear, transparent and effective control system verified by experts.
“III- The 12 founding clubs also acknowledged that the Super League was a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport, which is not a ‘given’ and is challenged by new generational trends.
“Moreover, one of its main objectives was to promote women’s football on a global level, a tremendous, but currently underestimated, opportunity for the sector.
“IV- 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. We are ready to reconsider the proposed approach, as necessary.
Statement from Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 8, 2021
“However, we would be highly irresponsible if, being aware of the needs and systemic crisis in the football sector, which led us to announce the Super League, we abandoned such mission to provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry.
“V- We regret to see that our friends and founding partners of the Super League project have now found themselves in such inconsistent and contradictory position when signing a number of commitments to UEFA yesterday.
“However, given that the material issues that led the 12 founding clubs to announce the Super League weeks ago have not gone away, we reiterate that, to honour 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.
“VI- Mostly, we reiterate to FIFA, UEFA and all football stakeholders, as we have done on several occasions since the announcement of the Super League, our commitment and firm will to discuss, with respect and without intolerable pressure and in accordance with the rule of law, the most appropriate solutions for the sustainability of the whole football family.”
The nine clubs who pulled out of the European Super League are back in the UEFA fold and have agreed to “take all steps within their power” to end their involvement in the breakaway league.
The Super League was announced on April 18, but within 72 hours it had fallen apart with the English clubs withdrawing after fan protests and Government pressure.
What punishment do nine Super League rebels face?
The clubs will make a combined 15m euro (just over £13m) goodwill contribution to benefit children’s and grassroots football across Europe.
They will also have five per cent of UEFA competition revenues withheld for one season. This money will be redistributed.
They face fines of 100m euros (almost £87m) each if they seek to join an unauthorised competition in the future, and a fine of half that if they breach any other terms of the declaration, UEFA said in a statement.
They will also rejoin the influential lobbying group the European Club Association.
A spokesperson for Manchester United confirmed the Glazer family would personally cover their club’s share of the goodwill money requested and the withheld funds.
It is expected that the amount the Glazers would be liable for is between five and 10 million euros.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that.
“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.
“These clubs recognised 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.”
What about Real, Barca and Juve?
On those clubs – Real, Barca and Juve – the tone was strikingly different in UEFA’s statement.
“UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called ‘Super League’,” the statement concluded.
“The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies.”
Meanwhile, Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol believes the three clubs could face bans from next season’s Champions League.
“Three clubs are refusing to be reintegrated,” he said. “They are three of the biggest clubs in Europe – Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus.
“As things stand, UEFA are saying these three clubs may well be banned from European competitions.
“We are looking at the prospect of Real Madrid not playing in the Champions League next season. Juventus will not be playing in it. Barcelona will not be playing in it.
“Unless they can sit down and come up with a compromise with UEFA. But as things stand – as ridiculous as it sounds – these three clubs are refusing to give up on the Super League.
“They still think somehow they can make it happen. They are refusing to accept these terms, conditions and punishments that UEFA have given to the other clubs.”