Juventus face being kicked out of Serie A if the club do not withdraw from the European Super League, Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina has said.
AC Milan and Inter Milan have backed out of the breakaway competition, leaving Juventus as the sole Italian club persisting with the plans.
“The rules are clear. If Juventus is still part of the Super League when it enters next season, it can’t participate in Serie A,” Gravina told Naples radio station Kiss Kiss.
“I would be sorry for the fans but rules are rules and they apply to everyone. I hope this holdout ends soon.”
Juventus won Serie A last season for a ninth straight year, but have since relinquished the title to Inter.
On Saturday, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus hit out at “intolerable” pressure and threats to abandon the European Super League project, and vowed to “persevere” with the idea despite its considerable rejection.
The three lingering clubs of the original 12 issued a joint statement on the weekend defending their basis for the ESL’s creation and expressed “regret” at seeing the other nine – including the Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’ – recommit to UEFA on Friday.
Real, Barca and Juve are set to face “appropriate action” by UEFA for their role in the fiasco, which was met with vehement condemnation from throughout the football community, but the trio of clubs have warned UEFA to back off and hope they will be open in future to discussing solutions to the “systemic crisis in the football sector”.
Their statement read: “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 Super League project was designed jointly by its 12 founding clubs with the aim of providing solutions to the current unsustainable situation in the football industry. The 12 founding clubs shared the same concerns as other stakeholders in European football do, particularly under the current socio-economic context, that structural reforms are indispensable to ensure our sport stays appealing and survives in the long-term.
“(The Super League project was designed jointly by its 12 founding clubs also) with the utmost respect for the current football structures and ecosystem. The founding clubs expressly agreed that the Super League would only take place if such a competition was recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA or if, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, it was deemed to be a competition duly compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions. However, despite being aware of the above terms, UEFA and FIFA have so far refused to establish any adequate channel of communication.
“(The Super League project was designed jointly by its 12 founding clubs also) to bring financial stability to the entire European football family, currently under the effects of a deep crisis that threatens the survival of many clubs. Testament of it, the announced commitment to establish annual solidarity payments for guaranteed annual amounts that materially multiply those distributed by UEFA, and the obligation to reinforce financial sustainability rules, through the creation of a clear, transparent and effective control system verified by experts.
“The 12 founding clubs also acknowledged that the Super League was a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport, which is not a ‘given’ and is challenged by new generational trends. Moreover, one of its main objectives was to promote women’s football on a global level, a tremendous, but currently underestimated, opportunity for the sector.
“We are fully aware of the diversity of reactions to the Super League initiative and, consequently, of the need to reflect on the reasons for some of them. We are ready to reconsider the proposed approach, as necessary. However, we would be highly irresponsible if, being aware of the needs and systemic crisis in the football sector, which led us to announce the Super League, we abandoned such mission to provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry.
“We regret to see that our friends and founding partners of the Super League project have now found themselves in such inconsistent and contradictory position when signing a number of commitments to UEFA yesterday. However, given that the material issues that led the 12 founding clubs to announce the Super League weeks ago have not gone away, we reiterate that, to honour our history, to comply with our obligations towards our stakeholders and fans, for the good of football and for the financial sustainability of the sector, we have the duty to act in a responsible manner and persevere in the pursuit of adequate solutions, despite the unacceptable and ongoing pressures and threats received from UEFA.
“Mostly, we reiterate to FIFA, UEFA and all football stakeholders, as we have done on several occasions since the announcement of the Super League, our commitment and firm will to discuss, with respect and without intolerable pressure and in accordance with the rule of law, the most appropriate solutions for the sustainability of the whole football family.”
The nine clubs who pulled out of the European Super League are back in the UEFA fold and have agreed to “take all steps within their power” to end their involvement in the breakaway league, which was abandoned within 72 hours of its announcement amid considerable fan protests, Government pressure, and player and manager rejection.