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Italian clubs give up on Super League but insist change is needed

Italy’s AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus on Wednesday followed all six English clubs as well as Atletico Madrid in giving up on the European Super League (ESL) while continuing to push for a change in world football.

Italian champions Juventus, whose president Andrea Agnelli was one of the driving forces behind the ill-fated project, said the withdrawal of most of the 12 founding teams made the plan unworkable.

“(Juventus) believe that at present there are limited chances that the project be completed in the form originally conceived,” the Turin club said.

They added that they were “convinced of the soundness of the project’s sport, commercial and legal premises”.

In an interview given before the withdrawal of the English clubs, Agnelli had insisted the breakaway league would go ahead.

“Between our clubs, there is a blood pact, we will move forward. (the project) has a 100 percent chance of success,” Agnelli told La Repubblica

“Football is no longer a game but an industrial sector and it needs stability.”

Juventus pointed out that despite “the request and intentions otherwise expressed by certain clubs to withdraw from this project … the necessary procedures envisaged by the agreement among the clubs have not been completed.”

Shares in Juventus plunged, closing the day on Wednesday at more than 13 percent down, at 0.735 euros, having reached their highest level since September on the announcement of the project.

Like Juventus, AC Milan did not formally withdraw but said they were bowing to a backlash from fans around the world.

“The voices and the concerns of fans around the world have clearly been expressed about the Super League, and AC Milan must be sensitive to the voice of those who love this wonderful sport,” said the seven-time European champions.

The club, owned by US-investment fund Elliot, added: “Change is not always easy, but evolution is necessary for progress, and the structures of European football have evolved and changed over the decades.

“We will continue to work hard to deliver a sustainable model for football.”

Chinese-owned Inter Milan confirmed they were “no longer part of the Super League project”.

“Inter believes that football, like every sector of activity, must have an interest in constantly improving its competitions, to keep on exciting fans of all ages around the world, within a framework of financial sustainability.”

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid officially remain the only teams left in the project three days after its launch.

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