Madrid, April 21
Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus all dropped out of the European Super League today, leaving the new competition essentially extinct before it even started. Only Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona are still officially involved as of Wednesday evening IST.
The moves by Atletico, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus came a day after the six Premier League clubs involved in the project gave up on the controversial breakaway competition. English clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham deserted the plans for the largely-closed competition amid an escalating backlash from their supporters and warnings from the government that legislation could be introduced to thwart them.
The Super League project was overseen by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who promoted it as a way to “save football” and the clubs struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
UEFA threatened to ban players from the participating teams from playing in this year’s European Championship and next year’s World Cup. But a Madrid court later issued a preliminary ruling stopping UEFA, FIFA and its members from acting against the creation of the new league. — AP/PTI
Timeline: Boom to bust in 3 days
The dramatic rise and fall of Europe’s Super League:
April 18: Italy’s Corriere dello Sport reports that a group of top European clubs plan a breakaway Super League. The full list of clubs involved is still not yet clear. UEFA and English, Spanish and Italian leagues and federations describe ESL as a “cynical project founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.”
April 18-19: ESL confirms its plan. It names the 12 founding clubs: Italy’s AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, Spain’s Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and England’s Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. No clubs from Germany or France are involved.
April 19: Opposition moves up a gear, as Britain’s government says it will consider “absolutely everything” to stop the plan in its tracks.
April 20: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola launches a stinging attack on the concept: “It is not fair when one team fight, fight, fight, arrive at the top and cannot qualify because success is already guaranteed just for a few teams.” FIFA president Gianni Infantino tells the 12 clubs “either you are in, or you are out”, threatening to ban them and their players from domestic and international competition. Britain’s government warns it will consider legislation to halt the plan. Within a crazy 15 minutes late in the day, the six English clubs pull out.
April 21: ESL looks doomed as Italian and Spanish clubs join fellow English founders of the project and start pulling out. The principal owner of Liverpool, John Henry, says in apology: “It’s something I won’t forget. And shows the power the fans have today and will rightly continue to have.”