Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli insists plans to launch a European Super League were not a “failure” despite the project collapsing within 72 hours last year.
Agnelli refused to be drawn on plans for a Super League 2.0 but was steadfast in his belief that European football needs reforms.
The Italian was a key player in last April’s breakaway revelation, with Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid looking to join Premier League sides Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in a Super League competition.
Widespread protests saw every club bar Juve, Real and Barca back out, but speaking at the FT Business of Football summit in London on Thursday, Agnelli said: “To me it is not a failure. We have been hearing projects of potential breakaway leagues ever since I was a teenager.
“Today, to me, European football is in dire straits, it is in need of deep and profound reforms.
“Last year was the first time that not one, not two, not three, but 12 clubs made a very important statement that was a profound alarm to the system.”
Agnelli was in the audience when UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin accused the Juve chief of living in a “parallel world”, and also faced criticism from Javier Tebas.
La Liga chief Tebas made the wild claim that those still intent on reviving the Super League lie more than Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“He [Agnelli] will have to explain it, if he doesn’t explain it, he will be lying,” Tebas said.
“A week ago, I think it was in his house there was a meeting of the three teams. Now they are saying they don’t want fixed slots, Real Madrid are saying they don’t want the first slot. It is false.
“It is very difficult for the English teams to form part of this competition so they are creating a European league with two categories and the national leagues are the second categories.
“There will be two or three people relegated but there will always be the typical teams – Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid. It will be difficult for them to go down.
“They have made enemies of UEFA and the Premier League, whose growth goes against their model. We know this, we have got this information. They can say what they want but this is what they are working on.
“Every time I read about it, I get cross, I think they lie more than Putin to be honest.
“They are insisting that introducing this will not affect national leagues. We must be idiots, we must be dumb. But we all say it hurts the national leagues.
“For me it is an insult, I feel humiliated. They will do huge harm.”