Tuesday, June 22, 2021

European Super League was desperate cry for help, not a coup – Juventus chairman Agnelli

SoccerNews in Serie A 4 Jun 2021

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Juventus chairman and vice-chairman of the proposed European Super League Andrea Agnelli insists the attempted breakaway from UEFA was a “desperate cry for help” rather than a “coup”.

Agnelli previously served as an executive and chairman of the European Club Association, an independent body that represents football clubs at a continental level, acting as a “voice” for teams and key stakeholder in the landscape of the game internationally.

But the 45-year-old stepped down from the ECA in April as he officially became a key figure for the Super League, a breakaway, closed-shop competition that threatened the competitive nature of European football.

Juve were one of 12 clubs to be announced as founding members of the league, but a backlash quickly led to the withdrawal of all six English clubs involved, followed by Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan.

Juve, Real Madrid and Barcelona have stood firm and affirmed their commitment to radical change, a stance that has subsequently seen UEFA open disciplinary proceedings against all three.

Agnelli addressed the media on Friday in a news conference arranged to bid farewell to sporting director Fabio Paratici, who is reportedly close to joining Tottenham, and the Juve chief again stressed the need for reform.

“For years I have tried to change European competitions from the inside, because the signs of crisis were evident even before the pandemic,” he told reporters.

“The Super League is not a coup, but a desperate cry of help for a system that, knowingly or not, is heading towards insolvency.

“The agreement between the founders [of the Super League] was conditional on UEFA’s prior recognition of the competition. The response was deafening, with offensive terms and arrogant methods, and then it turned to three clubs.

“It is not with this type of behaviour that football is reformed in the face of this crisis. Fortunately, I know that not everyone in UEFA feels the same way. The desire for dialogue, however, remains unchanged.

“Other sports have faced changes of this type, and almost all stakeholders agree that the model needs to be changed.

“Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid are determined to achieve a complete reform of the competitions, and above all, in the interest of the clubs that show us fear for this situation.”

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