The European Super League came and went so quickly last month that it all seems like a distant mirage. A dozen of the game's most influential and lucrative clubs circling the wagons to create a system that would see them become even more influential and even more profitable seemed like a fantastic idea (for them) but ultimately accomplished little more than provoking a virulent response from nearly all 12 Super League fanbases. So much so that the entire thing fell apart in approximately 72 hours, with keystone clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United condemning and later apologizing (two terms we use loosely) for their part in this breakaway league.
But, despite those clubs fleeing like rats on a sinking ship, the Super League still has a few holdouts, namely Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus. In the wake of the Super League disaster, critics were quick to point out that this venture may have been nothing more than an extremely complex route for these three clubs to keep pace with the nouvea riche petrol clubs like City, PSG, and Chelsea, who aren't entirely dependent on Champions League revenue, to begin with—cries that will likely grow louder the longer these three holdouts remain loyal to the now-defunct breakaway competition.
With the other nine Super League charter members officially renouncing their involvement in the competition, they were able to avoid any heavy-handed sanctions from either UEFA or their domestic leagues, but Juventus, Madrid, and Barcelona may not be so lucky. Facing a maelstrom of criticism and rumors of outright banishment from European and domestic competitions, these three Super League amigos released a joint statement or the weekend, reasserting the rationale for the league while seemingly trying to stay ahead of any punitive actions UEFA or FIFA may take against them.
From the official release:
(i) The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue. This is intolerable under the rule of law and Tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending
The statement includes an additional eight sections and/or subsections pleading the Super League case; cries that may fall on deaf ears, at least as far as the FIGC are concerned, who today issued a direct warning to Juventus.
According to FIGC President Gabriele Gravina, Juventus will be expelled from Serie A if they don't officially withdraw from the European Super League:
When clubs accept to take part in the Italian league, they accept the principles of international bodies. It’s evident that if Juventus would not accept these principles they will be banned from the domestic league,
I am sorry, I saw some worried fans this morning, but everybody must respect the rule...Nine clubs decided to withdraw from the competition [the Super League], there are three still involved. However, I hope this dispute will end soon.
There's no equivocation in that statement—if Juve doesn't accept those principles, they're out of Serie A—so Gravina better be prepared to follow through on this threat, not to mention having the temerity to weather the legal battle that is sure to follow.
Watching the Super League vanish so soon after it was announced gives it an almost comical afterglow; like, really, they thought this would go off without a hitch? But Juve's steadfast refusal to walk back their involvement could have serious consequences for the Old Lady.
Will they remain loyal to a dead idea or cave to Gravina and the FIGC? With only three matches remaining on the league calendar and promotions and relegations to sort out, Juventus better act quickly.