‘Historic opportunity’: Barcelona stay committed to European Super League


Barcelona have justified signing up to the European Super League by saying it was a “historic opportunity” to guarantee football’s financial sustainability, adding that they remain committed to the project even as other clubs jump ship.

The Catalan club said in a statement on Thursday that the project required further analysis and could be set up in a different format but appeared to rule out joining Atlético Madrid and the six English clubs in leaving.

“Given the public reaction that the aforementioned project has generated … there is no question FC Barcelona appreciates a much more in-depth analysis is required into the reasons that have caused this reaction,” the statement said. “Such in-depth analysis needs time and the necessary composure to avoid taking any rash action.”

Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur abandoned the project on Tuesday while Atlético joined them on Wednesday. Juventus, Inter Milan and Milan also accepted the plan had failed.

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Atlético Madrid stayed in control of La Liga’s title race by beating struggling Huesca 2-0 at home on Thursday with goals in each half by Ángel Correa and Yannick Carrasco.

Correa scored for the third time in two games to give Atletico the lead shortly before halftime, before Marcos Llorente pounced on a loose ball and squared for Carrasco to knock it into the empty net 10 minutes from time.

Bordeaux have been placed in administration after its owners, investment management firm King Street, said they no longer wished to support the club financially, the Ligue 1 side said on Thursday.

The former French champions have been struggling financially due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the premature end to the 2019-20 season also resulted in a loss of income when the league season was cancelled.

Their problems were compounded when Spanish media rights agency Mediapro, which had won Ligue 1 TV rights for a record €780m euros per season over the 2020-2024 period, went bankrupt and missed payments last year.

In Serie A, Atalanta missed the chance to go second as Roma fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against the 10-man visitors at the Stadio Olimpico. 

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side went in front through Ruslan Malinovskyi in the first half but the match swung in the hosts’ favour when Robin Gosens was shown a second yellow card with 20 minutes remaining, and former Atalanta player Bryan Cristante drew Roma level with a thunderous long-range strike in the 75th minute. Reuters

Photograph: Jose Breton/Rex Features

The Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, has refused to accept the project is dead, however, while the Barcelona chief, Joan Laporta, said earlier on Thursday the Super League was a necessity but was open to dialogue with the European governing body Uefa.

Barcelona are in a deep financial crisis despite being the most valuable club in the world and the one with the biggest income. Their statement added that structural reforms were needed “to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football”, explaining they agreed to join the Super League “as a matter of immediate urgency”.

It also described the breakaway project, which has been fiercely criticised by supporters and political leaders across Europe, as “a competition designed to improve the quality and attractiveness of the product offered to the football fans”.

Barcelona said: “The decision was made in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members. As one of the world’s top sports club, our intention shall always be to be at the forefront, this being an indispensable part of the club’s identity and its sporting, social and institutional spirit.”



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