All six Premier League clubs pulled out of the European Super League shortly after it was announced a year ago but Barcelona president Joan Laporta insists that the competition is still alive
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City joined controversial project that was announced almost a year ago to heated backlash from supporters which forced all six to pull out. While AC Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid followed, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus stayed put, remaining fixated on the idea to challenge Champions League reforms which have also received backlash.
As a staunch advocate, Laporta has now reaffirmed his dedication to the competition and backed those pushing for the project to “win” further legal proceedings. The 59-year-old told Mundo Deportivo : “We are still here with Juventus, Real Madrid and other teams waiting. English clubs are still waiting, whether Manchester, Liverpool or the Germans too.
“They are waiting to see if it will be a new competition format or if it will be an improved Champions League. But we are here and we win in each of the legal proceedings that have been initiated. We are now waiting for the verdict of the European Court and we hope that it will rule by the end of the year.”
Laporta, who was elected just weeks before the failed European Super League launch in April 2021, previously affirmed to SPORT last October: “It’s not parked, the opposite, it’s alive and dialogue is open with all sorts of people in football who are working on it. Juve, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all there and we keep winning in the courts.
“We’re still working on making a more attractive competition. It could be favourable economically for the clubs that take part that it’s an open competition, with promotion and relegation. We’re not closing the door on UEFA, as much as they have acted aggressively from the start.”
UEFA’s new format for the Champions League, which will be first implemented in 2024, is what the Barca head honcho and co are rallying to combat, with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli recently doubling down on their commitment. “The Super League hasn’t failed. In my opinion, European football is in desperate need of reform,” the Italian said at the Financial Times Business of Football summit.
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“UEFA knew that I as Juventus president was working on something different. The Super League is a collective work of 12 teams, not one person. 12 clubs signed a 120-page contract and it is still binding for 11 of those clubs.” In a response, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin accused Agnelli and co of using Russia ‘s invasion of Ukraine as a distraction.
“They can play their own competition, nobody forbids them. But if they play their own competition, they can’t play in our competition,” Ceferin stated. “First, they launched their nonsense of the idea in the middle of a pandemic. Now, we read articles that they are planning to launch another idea now in the middle of a war.
“We are helping in a terrible situation, they are working on a project like that.” La Liga chief Javier Tebas was another to hit out at Agnelli and Laporta’s shared belief, labelling those who want to reignite the European Super League of “lying more than [Vladimir] Putin.”
“He [Agnelli] will have to explain it, if he doesn’t explain it, he will be lying,” Tebas began. “A week ago, I think it was in his house there was a meeting of the three teams. Now they are saying they don’t want fixed slots, Real Madrid are saying they don’t want the first slot. It is false.
“It is very difficult for the English teams to form part of this competition so they are creating a European league with two categories and the national leagues are the second categories. There will be two or three people relegated but there will always be the typical teams – Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid. It will be difficult for them to go down.
“They have made enemies of UEFA and the Premier League, whose growth goes against their model. We know this, we have got this information. They can say what they want but this is what they are working on. Every time I read about it, I get cross, I think they lie more than Putin to be honest. “For me it is an insult, I feel humiliated. They will do huge harm.”