Juventus will be excluded from next season’s Serie A should the Italian football club decide to persist with the proposed European Super League project, the head of the Italian football federation (FIGC) said yesterday.
Nine of the clubs who tried to breakaway, including six English Premier League teams, backed out of the Super League idea, but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid are still involved in the project. “If Juventus does not respect the rules they will be out,” Gabriele Gravina told a news conference. “At the time of registration for the next Serie A championship the club will be excluded if they decide not to withdraw from the Super League.”
Juve, Real and Barcelona said they were ready to reconsider the proposed approach to the breakaway plan following the angry backlash across the continent, but added it would be “highly irresponsible” for them to abandon the project altogether. “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,” their statement said on Saturday. “We are ready to reconsider the proposed approach, as necessary.”
They did also denounce the “intolerable” pressure put on them by UEFA to drop the project. The Super League argued it would increase revenue for the top clubs in Europe and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game. UEFA, other teams and fan organisations, however, said the league would only boost the power and wealth of elite clubs, with European soccer’s governing body insisting on Friday that the three clubs will face sanctions. Juventus declined to comment when approached
I won’t resign, I think I can do better says Juve’s Pirlo
Meanwhile, Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said he will not resign after seeing his side slip out of the Champions League qualification places in Serie A following a 3-0 home defeat by AC Milan on Sunday night, insisting he can do better.
Last weekend, two late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo earned Juve a dramatic victory at Udinese to give them confidence going into the crucial clash with Milan who, like the Turin side, have stuttered in recent matches.
But the hosts never really looked like earning victory on Sunday, with the loss leaving Pirlo’s outfit fifth in the standings with three games to go, as doubts linger over the rookie’s managerial capabilities.
“Step aside? No,” Pirlo said. “I have undertaken this job with a lot of enthusiasm, there are difficulties but my work goes on and I am available. I think I can do better and be able to get out of it, together with the team. We have to look forward, I will continue to do my job as long as I am allowed. We had actually started fairly well in the match, but we lost our way and this was the final result. It’s difficult to explain now. There were many components that didn’t work.”
Milan led the way for much of the season but could not keep pace with Inter Milan, who are the newly-crowned champions.
Sunday’s win, however, thanks to goals by Brahim Diaz, Ante Rebic and Fikayo Tomori, helped Milan climb to third spot, three points clear of Juve, and put them in a strong position to return to the Champions League next term.
“I have always thought that there are no perfect matches but tonight we came close in terms of attention, spirit and quality,” coach Stefano Pioli said. “It was a very important match and the victory I want to dedicate to the fans who have given us an exciting charge. This win could be a turning point (in the top four race) if we manage to continue this path on Wednesday against Torino.”
The final whistle was greeted with wild scenes of celebration from Milan staff and players, with their first away league win at Juve since March 2011 putting them in a strong position to return to the Champions League, potentially at their opponent’s expense.
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