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European Super League: 11 of 12 founder clubs still under contractual obligation

Sean Walsh
Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona are the last public supporters of the ESL
Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona are the last public supporters of the ESL / Visionhaus/GettyImages

11 of the initial clubs that signed up to the European Super League last April are still under contractual obligation to compete in the competition, but one side has escaped these commitments.

The Premier League's 'big six', Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid of Spain, and Inter, Juventus and Milan from Italy announced in April 2021 their intentions to form a new breakaway football league. The decision was met with almost universal backlash and all sides bar Barça, Real and Juve stepped away from the project.

But it has long been touted by those stubborn remaining members that other clubs could not afford to get cold feet on the ESL as they were contractually obliged to persist with its formation.

However, speaking at the Financial Times' Business of Football Summit on Thursday, Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli - who has been one of the leading faces of the ESL - admitted that one of the 12 sides was no longer under contract to continue the Super League.

"The Super League is a collective work of 12 teams, not one person," he said. "12 clubs signed a 120-page contract and it is still binding for 11 of those clubs.”

While Agnelli did not confirm the identity of that one side, COPE state that it is Serie A champions Inter, who secured a clause in their negotiations allowing them to step back if they did not gain full support from their sponsors.

Agnelli had been expected to reveal changes to ESL proposals such as the removal of merit-awarded spots in the competition, but the Italian did not provide any update on future plans.

However, it was reported the same day that UEFA were considering scrapping similar proposals to award Champions League spots on historic performances rather than domestic league finishes.

Earlier at the conference, UEFA president Alexander Ceferin had reiterated that ESL clubs would be banned from competing in the Champions League and Europa League.