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Barca, Real Madrid, Juve let off the hook

Major break for rebel clubs involved in European Super League chaos

September 28, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
UEFA's decision won't surprise many fans and observers, though...

Earlier this year, the football world was thrown into chaos after 12 clubs announced they were going to try and form a breakaway league known as the European Super League. This concept had been buzzed about years before, with even one of AC Milan's former executives, Adriano Galliani being quick to deny that Milan were one of the clubs pushing for a new tournament way back in 2009.

A report from France Football had claimed that several clubs, including Milan, as well as Manchester United, Barcelona, and Inter, were looking to sit down and talk with then-UEFA President Michel Platini about the creation of a new tournament that would bring in massive revenue and potentially offset the damage caused by the recession of 2007-2008.

Well, despite Galliani's denials, France Football clearly knew what they were talking about, or at the very least, they had some sort of proverbial crystal ball. Because 12 years later, in April 2021, 12 teams decided to try to form exactly the same type of tournament that Milan were involved in back in 2009. Funded by American investment bank JP Morgan, this concept was to provide "elite football" for fans starring the continent's biggest sides, but many supporters (especially those of smaller teams and even those who support the bigger sides) obviously didn't see it that way.

Along with the aforementioned Milan and Inter, Juventus decided to throw their hat in the ring. The Italian trio were joined by Manchester United plus the other five members of England's "Big Six": Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham, and the group was rounded out by Atletico, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. Notably, there were no French or German teams invited to join this group of rebels, although the 2009 France Football report did note that Bayern Munich were "strongly" against it.

Fans, analysts, and others were up in arms, and it's not shocking that the European Super League began to crumble before it got off the ground. 24 hours later, things were in shambles, as the Premier League clubs, realizing the impact it would cause for their fans base, began to backpedal. Other teams, like Atletico Madrid soon followed, and Milan, despite being one of the big players in this business for over a decade, decided to bow out, along with their cross-town rivals Inter.

However, Barcelona and Real Madrid - normally bitter rivals - decided to collaborate and stand firm. Given they're two of the most successful and popular clubs in the world, Juventus decided to follow suit and hitch their wagon to the Spanish giants and continue to forge ahead. 

UEFA decided to react, threatening the three clubs with sanctions and possible expulsion from the Champions League if they didn't line up. Yet the three continued to dig in their heels, leading to an impasse, with some wondering if anything would come of it.

Well, all three are featuring in this season's Champions League, and now, UEFA have decided to drop any legal charges. The three teams had been in court, arguing that their case represented a violation of European competition law and that UEFA had no right to punish them for trying to form a breakaway organization.

In addition, UEFA have announced they won't fine the other nine teams who were involved in the attempt to form their own organization. In May, the nine teams had agreed to pay a combined fine of €15 million and were set to be docked five percent of annual UEFA revenues for one season. That penalty has now been nullified.

Apparently the reason UEFA have decided to drop it is they don't want a protracted battle, especially with Barcelona and Real Madrid who have brought the case in front of the Spanish courts.

So, in short, this whole business will be put to rest like nothing has ever happened. A serious case of much ado about nothing, or is this truly the end of this whole saga?

Only time will tell.

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