Soccer Giants Ready to Vow Not to Repeat Doomed Super League

A group of the world’s richest soccer clubs are close to pledging not to repeat efforts to form a rebel league in Europe, according to people familiar with the matter, after previous attempts to do so drew scorn at all levels of the game.

Nine of the 12 clubs behind the doomed Super League project earlier this year are planning to rejoin the European Club Association, a body that represents UEFA members, on the grounds they will not try again to establish a breakaway league, the people said.

The clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur from the U.K., Atletico de Madrid from Spain and AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano SpA from Italy, the people said.

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Italy’s Juventus Football Club SpA — all among the architects of the Super League — are not due to rejoin the ECA, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

An announcement could be made as soon as Monday, they said.

Representatives for AC Milan, Barcelona, Chelsea, the ECA, Internazionale, Juventus, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Tottenham and UEFA declined to comment. Representatives for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United didn’t immediately provide comment, while a spokesperson for Atletico de Madrid didn’t immediately respond.

Plans for a new Super League, which would have replaced UEFA’s flagship Champions League competition, were revealed in April with the backing of 12 of the world’s most prestigious clubs. But a backlash from fans and politicians, concerned it ran roughshod over the game’s history and culture, saw key backers withdraw and the Super League disintegrate in a matter of days.

The move by a majority of those clubs to recommit to the ECA comes as UEFA puts the final touches to a rescue package valued at as much as 6 billion-euros ($7 billion) to help European soccer recover from the financial impact of the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported last week.

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, the people said. 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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