Agnelli reiterates support for European Super League


Former Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has reiterated his belief in a European Super League in a farewell speech at the Italian club.

Agnelli was one of the chief architects of the breakaway plans to form the ESL in 2021.

The 47-year-old and the rest of the Juventus board resigned en masse in November amid a police investigation into the club’s transfers.

“European football needs a new system,” said Agnelli.

“Otherwise it risks a decrease in favour of a single dominant league which within a few years will attract all the talent of European football within its league, completely marginalising the other leagues and the others are already marginalised.”

The ESL plan was announced with 12 clubs in April 2021 but collapsed within 72 hours after nine withdrew amid protests from fans and opposition from governing bodies.

Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid have not renounced the ESL, which claimed Uefa and Fifa broke European Union competition law by blocking its creation.

“When I was president of the ECA (European Clubs Association) and of the Uefa executive committee, the analysis was evident,” said Agnelli.

“There was no club sustainability, a vertical polarisation of interest towards only two leagues, access to very risky financial instruments and fan disaffection.

“The proposal at the time was the creation of a league system with access different from the classic ones. This proposal was made in 2019.

“If I personally wanted to maintain my privileged situation, I would not have taken the decisions of April 2021.”

In a report released by the European Court of Justice in December, advocate general Athanasios Rantos said Uefa and Fifa’s actions were “compatible with EU competition law”.

A final ruling will be made by a 15-member Grand Chamber next spring.

Agnelli said: “The hope is that the European Court of Justice recognises professional sport as an industry, since the turnover of football is 55 billion euros (£48bn).

“I thank Real Madrid and Barcelona who, together with Juventus, had the courage to face the threats from Uefa.”

Agnelli was speaking at a Juventus shareholders meeting on Wednesday where a new board of directors was approved, with Gianluca Ferrero replacing him as chairman.

The Italian giants won nine Serie A titles in a row during Agnelli’s 13-year tenure, but finished fourth last season and made a 254m euro (£220m) loss – a record in Italy.

Juventus, who are listed on the Italian stock exchange, are being investigated for allegations of presenting false accounting information to investors and producing invoices for non-existent transactions.

Agnelli and vice-president Pavel Nedved, who has also stepped down, are among those under investigation.