Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus accuse Uefa of applying 'intolerable pressure' on European Super League clubs

Joint statement comes after European football governing body announces sanctions against the three clubs

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have hit out at Uefa after accusing European football's governing body of applying "intolerable" pressure to ensure the collapse of the proposed, and controversial, European Super League.

The three clubs are the only founding members of the ESL to still be involved in the project after the other nine swiftly withdrew following fierce and widespread criticism.

Yet, while those other nine clubs - England's Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal, Spain's Atletico Madrid, and Italian sides Inter Milan and AC Milan - issued apologies for their involvement, Real, Barca, and Juve have released a joint statement attacking Uefa for causing the ESL to collapse.

The statement comes after Uefa said on Friday that the three clubs will face sanctions and that disciplinary proceedings have started against them.

"The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offences to abandon the project," Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus said in a joint statement.

"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."

A breakaway Super League set up by 12 clubs was announced last month but fell apart after 48 hours.

The nine other clubs that backed out of the plan have signed a "Club Commitment Declaration" including a series of reintegration steps.

The Super League argued it would increase revenue for the top clubs in Europe and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game.

Uefa, other teams and fan organisations, however, said the league would only boost the power and wealth of elite clubs.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, left, is one of the main architects of the European Super League and refuses to back down from his view that the breakaway project would benefit football - a view widely opposed. Getty Images
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, left, is one of the main architects of the European Super League and refuses to back down from his view that the breakaway project would benefit football - a view widely opposed. Getty Images

Juve, Real and Barca said they were ready to reconsider the proposed approach of the breakaway project following the backlash, but said it would be "highly irresponsible" for them to 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," the statement added.

"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 nine clubs who pulled out of the Super League have agreed to "take all steps within their power" to end their involvement in the league.

They have been handed financial punishments by UEFA and have agreed to make a combined €15 million ($18.24m) goodwill contribution to benefit youth and grassroots soccer across Europe.

Published: May 8, 2021 02:37 PM

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