As of the early afternoon of Wednesday, April 12, Real Madrid and Barcelona FC were the only clubs that had not yet turned their backs on the project of a European Super League (ESL) of football out of its 12 original signatories. Confronted with the strong wave of criticism that followed its announcement last Sunday night, Chelsea and all the other five English teams that had initially signed up for it had announced their withdrawal - one after the other - by Tuesday night. Some of them apologized to their fans, admitting that they had made a mistake.
Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid joined their ranks on Wednesday morning. The other major Italian club, Juventus, appeared to be headed in the same direction, as its chairman, Andrea Agnelli, said that the project could not proceed without the participation of the English teams. Agnelli, who is also the vice chairman of the ESL, indicated that he was still in favor of the project, which needed to be re-evaluated.
The company behind the ESL released the following statement, indicating that the project may at least be presented in a different format: “Given the current circumstances we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”
The ESL has been presented as a strong organization similar to the National Basketball Association (NBA) or the National Football League (NFL) in the U.S.. Its supporters felt that it could attract more international interest and optimize the member clubs’ visibility and their revenues. However, Brand Finance, which has been tracking the value of football brands for 15 years, calculated that the 12 founding clubs of the European Super League (ESL) of football would lose up to 25 percent of their combined brand value, or between €2.5 billion and €4.3 billion, in addition to an annual loss in revenues of €1.1 billion. Brand Finance minimized the project’s attractivity in emerging global football markets such as the U.S. and China.