London: The breakaway European Super League announced by 12 elite sides has effectively collapsed after Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan joined the six-strong English contingent in quitting the project.
Now only Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona remain alongside Juventus of Italy.
Atletico said they had joined “in response to circumstances that no longer exist today” while Inter said “our engagement with all stakeholders to improve the football industry will never change”.
“Inter believes that football… 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.”
The statements from the pair were similar in language to that of the English six and offered little in way of apology for throwing European football into disarray and sparking rage among virtually everyone with an interest in the game – fans, governing bodies, players, media and even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Seven-time European champions AC Milan were little more conciliatory in admitting “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.”
Liverpool along with Manchester City and Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea withdrew less than 48 hours after declaring their intention to form a new competition.