An influential body that acts as the voice of Europe’s top soccer clubs has welcomed back nine of the teams behind a doomed rebel league.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur from the U.K., Atletico Madrid from Spain and AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano from Italy, have rejoined the European Club Association (ECA), according to a statement Monday.
It comes about four months after the clubs threw their weight behind efforts to create a new Super League to replace Europe’s flagship soccer competition, the UEFA Champions League. That plan drew a fierce backlash from fans and politicians concerned it ran roughshod over soccer’s history and culture, leading these teams to quickly withdraw support and the Super League to disintegrate.
“The ECA executive board took into consideration the clubs’ acknowledgement that the so-called European Super League project was not in the interests of the wider football community and their publicly communicated decisions to abandon said ESL Project completely,” the ECA said in the statement.
Spanish soccer giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Italy’s Juventus — also among the architects of the Super League — are not due to rejoin the ECA.
The move by a majority of rebel clubs to recommit to the ECA comes as UEFA puts the final touches on a rescue package valued at as much as €6 billion ($7 billion) to help European soccer recover from the financial impact of the pandemic.
Under the proposals, clubs will have access to funds at lower borrowing rates and be able to restructure existing debt over longer periods of five to seven years, Bloomberg News reported last week. UEFA has been in talks with London-based investment firm Centricus Asset Management over financing the plans, people familiar with the matter said in April.
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