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08th May 2021

Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid release joint statement on Super League

Danny Jones

Juve, Barca and Real issue statement on the Super League

Juve and the two remaining Spanish clubs have had their say on the Super League

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a couple of weeks or so since the Super League died on its feet, a mere matter of days after it was announced. However, with Florentino Pérez insisting that it is still alive and the likes of his club and Barcelona still yet to officially withdraw from the competition, this chapter may not yet be fully over.

Now, Juventus – in conjunction with Barcelona and Real Madrid – have released an official statement regarding the Super League. While they admit a need to “reconsider the proposed approach”, a lot of it is what we’ve already heard from the likes of Perez, Agnelli and whoever else is still interested in having their pockets lined.

They begin by stating that “the founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offences 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”.

Manchester United fans protest Glazer ownership outside Old Trafford

They go on to describe this as “intolerable under the rule of law” and state that “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.

Once again, the party line seems to be ‘we did what we did for the good of the game’, all under the continued guise of providing novel “solutions” to ensure that football’s economy improves and that current “unsustainable” system is replaced.

However, they do go on to say that the Super League “would only take place if such a competition was recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA”, met current rules and regulations, and was seen as “compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions”.

They state that neither UEFA nor FIFA have been open to communication – you know, other than stating outright: ‘you can’t do this, here’s why and this is what will happen if you do’.

The trio then goes on to rather audaciously play the Covid card, by suggesting that the Super League was an attempt 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”.

While they state that the competition would have “solidarity payments” and an “effective control system” that would improve upon the current structures put in place by the UEFA, they still fail to recognise the most important part at any point throughout the statement: the fans and the spirit competition that they threatened to compromise.

They double down by arguing 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”, once again citing “generational trends” that supposedly stop younger people watching, as well as stating that they wanted to “promote women’s football on a global level”.

Once again, the choice of language is one of the most troubling parts. Whilst we know what they are getting at by describing it as a show – i.e. marvelling at the spectacle of some of the best athletes in the world facing off – it still, ultimately, seems to put TV rights and the notion of football as Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday night show the viewers tune in to.

They go on to say:

“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. 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.

Further constructing the concept of a crisis outside of the kind goliaths like these clubs have created themselves over the past few decades, they add that they “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“.

Despite the nine other clubs having reintegrated with UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA), Juve, Barça and Real are still unwilling to concede defeat for that “the material issues that led the 12 founding clubs to announce the Super League weeks ago have not gone away” and will continue to “comply with our obligations towards our stakeholders”.

They, once again, try to label this steadfast Super League stance as in the interest of fans, “for the good of football and for the financial sustainability of the sector”, but their true colours still seemingly shine through, as they label widespread protests and fan displays of love for their clubs as nothing more than “unacceptable and ongoing pressures and threats received from UEFA.

They close the statement by reiterating their “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”.

They can dress it up however they like but they just don’t get it. The mask slips at several points throughout this ramble and it becomes clear that, more than anything, they are angered by the knowledge that fan power has succeeded (for now) and that people still stand in the way of them earning more money. You can’t fool us: you’re not football people, you’re businessmen.