Atletico Madrid, Inter and AC Milan withdraw from European Super League

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Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan on Wednesday became the latest clubs to pull out of a controversial planned 20-team European Super League (ESL).

Their withdrawal following the departure of six English clubs on Tuesday night forced the Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli to declare the ESL fatally holed.

“I remain convinced of the beauty of that project,” said Agnelli, one of the chief architects of the tournament.

"It would have created the best competition in the world. But I don’t think that that project is now still up and running.”

On Wednesday Atletico, the La Liga leaders, and the Italian outfits followed Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur who withdrew throughout the course of Tuesday evening.

Change

On Sunday, the six clubs said they would play with Atletico, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus in the new midweek league and then feature in their domestic championships on the weekend.

Fury erupted over the self-appointed elite who, as founding members, could not be relegated from the league and would thereby guarantee themselves hundreds of millions of euros each season.

It is understood the English clubs reconsidered their position after the Football Association, the country’s ruling body, warned that any club involved in the ESL would be banned from the Premier League and all domestic competitions.

Atletico Madrid's bosses said the reasons why they joined the competition no longer applied.

"For the club, harmony between all the groups that make up the Red & White family, especially our fans, is essential," a club statement added.

Inter Milan, who are on the verge of their first Serie A title since 2010, followed the other seven on Wednesday afternoon.

"FC Internazionale Milano confirm that the club is no longer part of the Super League project," a club statement said.

"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.

"With this vision we look forward to carry on working together with institutions and all stakeholders for the future of the sport we all love."

Inter's city rivals, AC Milan, renounced soon after.

"We accepted the invitation to participate in the Super League project with the genuine intention to deliver the best possible European competition for football fans around the world and in the best interest of the club and our own fans," the club's owners explained.

"However, 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."

Lone voice

With nine of the 12 founders shuffled away from the league following condemnation from politicians, fans, football governing bodies, players and former players, Agnelli maintained a modicum of defiance.

He said he had received inquiries from owners about signing up to the elite competition.

“I’m not going to say how many clubs contacted me in just 24 hours asking if they could join,” Agnelli told Reuters news agency.

“Maybe they lied, but I was contacted by a number of teams asking what they could do to join.”