Official – Fan Unfriendly ESL Idea Suffers Another Blow

Date: 1st June 2024 at 10:36am
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Fans across European football were largely in lock step in their condemnation of the ridiculous, and thoroughly anti competitive, European Super League (ESL) idea when 12 clubs signed up to it back in 2021, but fan power won out and with protests and anger, all but three sides withdrew their support in what felt like the quickest u-turn in history.

One of the sides who stayed were Italian Serie A side Juventus.

The Bianconeri were extremely quick to respond to their fans complaints, and were open enough to explain that for some weird legal reason, they actually needed Real Madrid and Barcelona’s permission to withdraw from their contract – an issue that confused many fans because it clearly did not apply to the other nine clubs who signed up.

In any event though, they very quickly began that withdrawal process on a legal perspective, and over the weekend they further updated fans that they has requested to once again join the European Club Association (ECA) following their exclusion over the whole ESL idea.

The original nine clubs who pulled out quickly have already been readmitted, so the Old Lady will become the tenth, leaving only the original driving game players, Real Madrid and Barcelona who are clinging to their ESL dream, still out in the quite unaffected procedural cold.

ECA chairman, and president of French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, subtly barbed that the association’s doors were always open to clubs who ‘believe in collective interests, progressive reform and working constructively’ with fellow member clubs, adding the decision meant that Juventus would ‘rejoin the European football family’.

Clearly some tensions remain and they probably will for a number of years in the foreseeable future, even if they are not upfront and just bubble under the surface. The ESL put plenty of noses out of whack, clubs and fans alike, and it will take time to repair that blunder.

This is simply the next step for Juve as they take full advantage of the May ruling from a Spanish court that came to a judgement that both UEFA and FIFA were unlawful in banning clubs from joining the ESL. The Madrid based commercial court ultimately decided that banning clubs from the ESL was anti-competitive and meant that the authorities had overly exerted, and abused, their dominant position.

Fans will naturally have their own thoughts when it comes to the veracity of that particularly opinion and sporting integrity issues, and how it should in any way preclude a competing organisation from protecting their own interests from clubs seeking an unfair financial boost, when affiliation cannot be mandatory in the first place, so UEFA were right to point out the judgement was not an endorsement, or in anyway, a backing of the closed shop idea.

The new plans for a breakaway league do not impress any real fan, in any European country, and Juventus are right to listen to those who keep them existing and loved.


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