The last three clubs standing in the Super League are refusing to back down with Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona releasing a joint statement this morning denouncing the "ongoing pressures and threats" from UEFA.
Nine of the 12 clubs that were behind the radical breakaway league, which was unveiled three weeks ago and collapsed within 48 hours, yesterday agreed settlements with UEFA that will see them fined for their actions but remain within the Champions League structure. However Spain's two richest sides and Juventus -- all of whom have felt significant financial pressures in recent months -- are yet to withdraw from the Super League, a stance which is set to earn them even harsher punishment from European football's governing body.
"We 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," Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona said in a joint statement.
"However, given that the material issues that led the 12 founding clubs to announce the Super League weeks ago have not gone away, we reiterate that, to honor our history, to comply with our obligations towards our stakeholders and fans, for the good of football, and for the financial sustainability of the sector, we have the duty to act in a responsible manner and persevere in the pursuit of adequate solutions, despite the unacceptable and ongoing pressures and threats received from UEFA."
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was to be the Super League's first president with Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli one of the two vice-presidents that would have served alongside him. Their two clubs were among the chief drivers of the proposal, which fell apart swiftly when all six English sides withdrew due to a sizeable backlash from supporters.
Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan also signed settlement deals with UEFA on Friday, committing to only participating in the current competitions and to returning five percent of their earnings from one season playing in European football. Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona, however, are at risk of being banned from the lucrative Champions League and other UEFA competitions if they do not withdraw.
The three clubs said: "The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses 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. 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."
As for the proposed league, which would have included a largely closed structure that protected 15 "founder" clubs from relegation, the statement added: "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."