Europe’s football governing body has agreed a peace deal with the majority of clubs behind a botched attempt to launch a breakaway Super League last month, a move that reasserts its authority over some of the continent’s most powerful teams.
Uefa reached a “reintegration” settlement with the nine clubs on Friday night, paving the way for them to continue playing in existing European competitions with minimal punishment.
The clubs include all six English Premier League sides that had joined the Super League — Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United — as well as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atlético Madrid.
But the three biggest proponents of the Super League — Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Juventus — have refused to accept the deal, leading Uefa to threaten further disciplinary action.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus issued a joint statement on Saturday defending their position and saying they would fight any sanctions made against them.
The three clubs said: “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.”
The most severe penalty Uefa is weighing is a two-year ban from the Champions League, Europe’s top football competition, where €2bn is shared between participating clubs each season.
The peace agreement, in which compliant clubs agreed to “terminate their involvement” with Super League organisers, comes after intense discussions between football’s power brokers to repair the schism created last month when a dozen top sides announced they would join a new continental contest in which they would be granted permanent places.
The concept represented a fundamental break with the “pyramid” structure of the world’s favourite sport. But the plan collapsed within days in the face of fierce opposition from fans, players and politicians.
In the weeks since, Uefa and other football governing bodies have sought assurances from the rebel teams that the Super League would not be resurrected at a later stage.
“These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football,” said Aleksander Ceferin, Uefa president. “The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called Super League and Uefa will deal with those clubs subsequently.”
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The agreement requires clubs to “take all steps within their power” to end ties with “the company established to form and operate the Super League”, and to drop all legal cases tied to the league’s creation.
That move is designed to liquidate a Spanish company set up to run the Super League, with which the clubs had signed binding agreements. Uefa is also seeking to stave off legal action related to an injunction gained by Super League clubs in a Spanish court, which was designed to prevent authorities from blocking the new competition.
Uefa’s peace agreement includes minor punishments for the nine clubs, including withholding of 5 per cent of the revenues they would have earned from one season in European competitions.
The clubs have also agreed to pay individual fines totalling €100m if they seek to play in an unauthorised contest and a €15m donation to benefit youth and grassroots football.
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