GOAL - Andrew Steel
Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid have slammed UEFA over the announcement that the latter will enact disciplinary proceedings against them, insisting that they either open a dialogue for further reforms to the game or "watch its inevitable downfall".
The three sides remain the only holdouts of the ill-fated breakaway project, which has seen three-quarters of its founding members reverse course under intense pressure from the wider football community.
But the Blaugrana, the Bianconeri and Los Blancos have yet to concede, forcing UEFA to opt for sanctions, a decision that has sparked another round of fury from the three outfits.
What has been said?
"FC Barcelona, Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF wish to express their absolute rejection of the insistent coercion that UEFA has been maintaining towards three of the most relevant institutions in the history of football," the clubs said in a collective statement.
"This alarming attitude constitutes a flagrant breach of the decision of the courts of justice, which have already made a clear statement warning UEFA to refrain from taking any action that could penalise the founding clubs of the Super League while the legal proceedings are ongoing.
"Therefore, the opening of disciplinary proceedings by UEFA is incomprehensible and is a direct attack against the rule of law that we, the citizens of the European Union, have democratically built up, while constituting a lack of respect toward the authority of the courts of justice themselves.
"From the beginning, the Super League has been promoted with the aim of improving the situation of European football, through permanent dialogue with UEFA and with the objective to increase the interest in the sport and to offer fans the best possible show.
"Instead of exploring ways of modernizing football through open dialogue, UEFA expects us to withdraw the ongoing court proceedings that question their monopoly over European football.
"Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid, all of them more than a century old, will not accept any form of coercion or intolerable pressure, while they remain strong in their willingness to debate, respectfully and through dialogue, the urgent solutions that football currently needs.
"Either we reform football or we will have to watch its inevitable downfall."
What are UEFA doing?
The governing body, who previously opened an investigation into the trio, further outlined their moves on Wednesday with a statement confirming they were to take disciplinary proceedings in view of "a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework".
The previous nine sides involved in the ESL - the Premier League sextet of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, plus newly-minted Liga and Serie A champions Atletico Madrid and Inter, alongside AC Milan - have all already been told to expect financial penalties.
Juventus, meanwhile, face the risk of expulsion from Serie A for their part in the plot and refusal to renounce it.