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Juventus pull out of European Super League plot

Juventus pull out of European Super League plot

Juventus were one of the 12 clubs who signed up to form a breakaway European Super League in 2021 – Reuters/Massimo Pinca

Juventus has brought to an end more than three years of Super League rebellion by finally giving up its position on the breakaway – leaving Real Madrid and Barcelona as the final two members of the ill-fated competition that launched in April 2021.

On the eve of Real’s 17th Champions League or European Cup final, the club’s nemesis Nasser Al-Khelaifi announced that Juventus had rejoined the European Club Association (ECA) which represents clubs officially in all Uefa negotiations.

The Paris Saint-Germain president said that it was time for the two Spanish clubs to give up their opposition to the anti-Uefa lobby which still seeks to establish a new European cup competition fully owned by the participating clubs.

Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of the ECA, and the most powerful man in European football, said the Super League “doesn’t make sense”. “They can play two teams, home and away for 20 matches?”, he said. “It is not for anyone’s interest. They are going against their own interests today.”

He added: “I heard Madrid talked about the love story between Madrid and the Champions League. On the other hand they want to destroy the Champions League. You love or you hate. You want to destroy the thing you hate?”

On Juventus, which has changed its board including chairman Andrea Agnelli since the April 2021 Super League launch, Al-Khelaifi said: “They are back. It is great. The club has an amazing history. We are proud they are back to their family. I also call the others to be back.”

The ECA is Uefa’s preferred partner and saw all 12 original Super League clubs simultaneously resign their ECA membership in April 2021, including the six Premier League representatives. All but the Spanish big two have since rejoined although the influence once enjoyed at the ECA by the rebel clubs was diminished. Al-Khelaifi is now the ECA power with PSG having had no role in the Super League.

Real are likely to announce the signing of former PSG attacker Kylian Mbappé as a free agent this week. Their long and eventful pursuit of the great Frenchman, formerly at PSG, has not helped relations between the two clubs.

The Barcelona president Joan Laporta has remained on the side of his Real counterpart Florentino Perez when it comes to their collective anti-Uefa stance, although the Catalan club has huge financial problems of its own. The ECA represents 658 clubs across Europe although it too has also faced criticism that the big deals are done in private with Uefa and there is little consultation beyond a small group of powerful clubs.

The new deal with Uefa for the 2024-2027 rights cycle across the three main Uefa competitions including the Champions League and with the SuperCup as an additional broadcast asset is worth €4.4 billion (£3.7 million). Uefa and ECA agreed last year that after deductions €3.3 billion (£2.8 billion) will be distributed to competing clubs, with €2.5 billion (£2.1 billion) of that to the 36 in the Champions League.

The Super League advisors A22 Sports Management believe that a ruling by the European Court of Justice in December, and a subsequent judgement in a Madrid court this week, have helped their cause.

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