Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan became the latest clubs to pull out of the European Super League on Wednesday, with the project on the brink of collapse.
Only Real Madrid and Barcelona officially remain, after England’s ‘Big Six’ teams were the first to withdraw from the hugely controversial competition.
“The Atletico Madrid Board of Directors, meeting this Wednesday morning, has decided to formally communicate to the Super League and the rest of the founding clubs its decision not to finally formalize its adherence to the project,” the Spanish side said in a statement.
“Atletico Madrid made the decision last Monday to join this project in response to circumstances that no longer exist today.
“For the club, harmony is essential between all the groups that make up the rojiblanco family, especially our fans.
“The first team squad and their coach have shown their satisfaction with the club’s decision, understanding that sporting merits must prevail over any other criteria.”
Atletico are one of three La Liga outfits involved in the breakaway tournament, with Real Madrid and their president Florentino Perez at the heart of the project.
But the new league looks dead in the water after Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham as well as Inter all pulled out.
Italian clubs end interest
Italy’s AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus on Wednesday followed all six English clubs as well as Atletico Madrid in giving up on the European Super League project while continuing to push for a change in world football.
Italian champions Juventus, whose president Andrea Agnelli was one of the driving forces behind the project, said the withdrawal of most of the 12 founding teams made the project unworkable.
“(Juventus) believes that at present there are limited chances that the project be completed in the form originally conceived,” the Turin club said.
They added that they “convinced of the soundness of the project’s sport, commercial and legal premises (and) remains committed to pursuing the creation of long-term value for the Company and the entire football industry.”
In an interview given before the English clubs’ withdrawal, Agnelli insisted the project would go ahead.
“Football is no longer a game but an industrial sector and it needs stability.”
Shares in Juventus plunged by more than 12 percent on Wednesday, having reached their highest level since September on the announcement of the project.
Like Juventus, AC Milan did not formally withdraw but said they were bowing to a backlash from fans around the world.
“The voices and the concerns of fans around the world have clearly been expressed about the Super League, and AC Milan must be sensitive to the voice of those who love this wonderful sport,” said the seven-time European champions.
The club owned US-investment fund Elliot added: “Change is not always easy, but evolution is necessary for progress, and the structures of European football have evolved and changed over the decades.
“We will continue to work hard to deliver a sustainable model for football.”
Chinese-owned Inter Milan confirmed they were “no longer part of the Super League project”.
“Inter believes that football, like every sector of activity, must have an interest in constantly improving its competitions, to keep on exciting fans of all ages around the world, within a framework of financial sustainability.”