The doomed Super League project ‘is ALIVE’, claims Barcelona president Joan Laporta as he talks up the ‘most attractive competition in the world’… and he says UEFA ‘CANNOT act against it’ despite nine teams pulling out
- European Super League plans were thrown out in space of 48 hours back in April
- Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus still hold out hopes of resurrecting it
- Joan Laporta, Barcelona president, believes the project ‘is alive’ and is not over
- He wants the final decision to go to courts and then the trio can push for it again
Barcelona president Joan Laporta is refusing to give up hope for a European Super League and claims the project for a breakaway competition is very much ‘alive’.
Back in April a proposal for a 12-team league – which included Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – was abandoned after 48 hours when fan pressure led to nine sides pulling out.
Along with the six Premier League sides, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid also withdrew and all nine have since rejoined the European Clubs’ Association (ECA).
Barcelona president Joan Laporta remains confident that a European Super League is possible
But Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have not returned to the ECA and still hold hope of delivering the ‘most attractive competition in the world’.
‘The Super League? The project is alive,’ Laporta told Onze TV.
‘UEFA cannot act against us. We will see what the courts say.
‘All the pressure put on the English clubs is useless if the courts accept the project.
‘If the Super League goes ahead, it will be the most attractive competition in the world and it will help a lot financially.’
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus hope the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will rule in their favour and permit the concept of a Super League not run by UEFA.
The plans for the Super League were chucked out in April after furious supporter protest
The Super League plans stunned world football – not least UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin – when they were announced in April.
But they provoked anger across fan groups in Europe, most notably in England, with Chelsea the first to withdraw – soon followed by their English counterparts – following supporter anger outside Stamford Bridge and across the country.
Owners – such as Liverpool’s John W Henry and then-United chief Ed Woodward – gave grovelling apologies as the plans were thrown out, but Real, Barca and Juve never formally withdrew.
The nine former rebel clubs have already agreed to a financial settlement with UEFA, accepting fines as an acknowledgement of wrongdoing for trying to split from existing competition structures. They made a combined payment of £12.7m and will give up five per cent of revenue for one season playing in Europe.
In a move to prevent them deploying the Super League threat again, the clubs have also agreed to be fined £84.9m if they seek again to play in an unauthorised competition or £42.4m if they breach any other commitments to UEFA as part of the settlement.
Barcelona are one of three teams – including Real Madrid and Juventus – still yet to give up on it
Speaking at the ECA’s conference in Geneva on Monday, Ceferin fired a warning to Laporta and his Super League allies amid talk of them reviving their breakaway bid.
‘In 2020 and 2021 nothing has been normal,’ he said.
‘Now what we all want is to return to normality. But for that, it’s essential to maintain unity in the face of the misfortune and talkative Super League.
‘The ESL has been an episode, that we do not want to live again . We have to be united and be a model for football.’
Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli has lost his position as head of the ECA and has been replaced by Paris Saint-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who never allowed the French side to be dragged into the Super League plans.
‘I will not spend much time talking about 18 April and the ‘not-so-Super League’ because I do not like to focus on fabulists and failures,’ said Al-Khelaifi in Geneva in his first address as head of the ECA.
‘Together we defended the interests of European football for everyone. We relied on the resolve and strength of [UEFA] president [Aleksander Ceferin], who stood up to the midnight coup. He said ‘we will win’ and we did.
‘While the three rebel clubs waste energies, twist narratives and continue to shout at the sky, the rest of us are moving forward.’
PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi called those pushing for the ESL as ‘fabulists and failures