Super League 'rebel three' request to play in Champions League - but still refuse to admit defeat

·2 min read
The prospect of a ban looms over the clubs
The prospect of a ban looms over the clubs

The three remaining European Super League rebels – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – have all submitted the statutory Uefa entry forms to play in its competitions next season, despite their public refusal to back down to the governing body and renounce their breakaway.

The decision by the three clubs, now formally under investigation by Uefa, suggests that none can afford not to be in European competition next season, although they are refusing to disassociate themselves from the doomed Super League project in their public statements. Qualification for the Champions League is worth around €100 million/£86 million to each participating club, although less in the Europa League and new Europa Conference League.

The Uefa forms are required to be submitted by all clubs who have a chance of qualifying for one of the three competitions in the following season and are ordinarily completed as a routine procedure by a club’s legal department. Barcelona and Real are currently in second and third place respectively in La Liga, behind the leaders Atletico Madrid, and thus occupying two of the four Champions League places. Juventus, fifth in Serie A, would currently only qualify for the Europa League next season.

On Wednesday Uefa referred the investigation into the three Super League rebel clubs to its independent ethics and disciplinary body, appointing inspectors. Uefa has already announced the measures to be taken against the nine clubs who were original founders of the Super League and have since withdrawn, including the six Premier League clubs involved.

The prospect of a two-season ban from European competition looms over Real, Barcelona and Juventus and at the weekend the trio issued a statement criticising Uefa and questioning the motives of the nine clubs who have already abandoned the project. The three rebel clubs alleged that Uefa was guilty of “unacceptable and ongoing pressures and threats”.

But behind the scenes the mood is evidently different with all three clubs applying to join Uefa competitions in 2021-2022. On Real Madrid’s website, the page carrying the original statement from April 18 that declared the club’s intention to join the Super League is no longer available. Florentino Perez, Real president, was briefly the chairman of the Super League although it is unclear whether he still occupies that position in what is now a three-club league.