On Tuesday evening in Rome, a brand new mural appeared on a wall on Via Caccini, near the headquarters of the Italian soccer federation (FIGC).
It depicts a stone-faced Andrea Agnelli puncturing a soccer with a golden dagger.
Street artist Laika has christened the piece ‘Il Golpe Fallito’ (‘The Failed Coup’), in reference to the doomed European Super League (ESL), which collapsed almost as rapidly as it had been founded.
After decades of posturing and threats by Europe’s elite clubs, speak of a breakaway match had resurfaced on Saturday afternoon.
UEFA had simply finalised plans for a revamped Champions League however the governing physique’s president, Aleksandar Ceferin, obtained calls from 5 of the 12 founders of the ESL to substantiate that the rumours had been true.
The shocked Slovenian finally managed to get in contact with the European Club Association (ECA) chairman Agnelli, who assured him that the entire thing was “bullsh*t”.
“Don’t worry,” the Italian stated, “nothing is going on.”
According to Ceferin, after the pair had exchanged a number of calls and agreed to difficulty a joint-statement on the matter, Agnelli promised to ring him again in an hour. But he did not. Instead, he turned off his cellphone.
Within 24 hours, Agnelli had give up the ECA and resigned from his position on the UEFA Executive Committee, and had been confirmed because the vice-president of the brand new ESL.
Just two days after agreeing to UEFA’s proposed adjustments to the Champions League, Agnelli had turned his again on them… and his pal.
Ceferin called Manchester United’s Ed Woodward, AC Milan’s Ivan Gazidis and Real Madrid’s Pedro Lopes “snakes” but it surely was Agnelli he labelled “the most disappointing” determine within the tried breakaway. After all, he was godfather to the Juventus president’s youngest baby.
“I don’t want to be too personal but the fact is that I have never seen a person that would lie so many times and as persistently as he did,” Ceferin instructed reporters on Monday. “It was unbelievable.”
When requested by 24ur on Thursday if he had been naive to belief Agnelli, Ceferin replied, “Better to be naive than a liar.”
Ceferin wasn’t the one one left outraged by Agnelli’s perceived betrayal.
In Italy, there was additionally disgust at how the Bianconeri supremo, together with Milan CEO Gazidis and Inter counterpart Beppe Marotta, had allegedly “sabotaged” Serie A.
As Torino president Urbano Cairo revealed, Agnelli had been a part of the interior committee charged with overseeing the sale of TV rights and a ten per cent stake in the media firm arrange by the league to a personal investor for about €1.7 billion (£1.5bn/$2bn).
“Therefore, he had a very important role in the talks,” Cairo defined to reporters. “The committee of 5, which was created on October 13, 2020, had been delegated to regulate the talks on behalf of the entire different golf equipment.
“Suddenly, although, there was a U-turn. Despite the vote from the meeting to assist the concept, Agnelli and the Inter homeowners out of the blue distanced themselves from it. Now, we all know why.
“We now come to find that there have been these negotiations between 12 European golf equipment, all of them closely in debt, with secret conferences between Agnelli and (Real Madrid president) Florentino Perez.
“This is unfair competitors, that is mendacity, that is dangerous religion. You are delegated by the Serie A golf equipment to barter on their behalf and in the meantime are negotiating on one other entrance to work out your personal monetary issues by damaging the golf equipment who gave you the mandate?”
Consequently, Agnelli received a frosty reception when he appeared at an emergency league meeting on Monday to discuss Juve, Inter and Milan joining the Super League.
The three ‘rebels’, as they were dubbed by the Italian press, insisted that they wished to remain in Serie A.
However, according to La Repubblica, when it was pointed out that Juve, Inter and Milan would have such an incredible financial advantage over their rivals that no other team would have a chance of winning the Scudetto, Agnelli reportedly replied, “Maybe I’m improper, however hasn’t that been the case for the previous 80 years?”
The other club presidents were stunned by his response but Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero sarcastically called Agnelli a “genius” and told him he deserved a round of applause.
Cairo was livid: “How can you come here to talk about solidarity when you sabotaged the negotiation with the funds, already knowing that you were doing the Super League?”
He nonetheless hadn’t come to phrases with Agnelli’s obvious duplicity when he spoke to the press afterwards. “How does one do something like that?” he requested in disbelief. “It is a betrayal. It’s Judas-like.”
Ferrero, in the meantime, was struggling to include his feelings. “Football would not exist without the fans,” he instructed Radio Marte. “We must take football back. If we follow people on a power trip, we do not go anywhere. How dare they?”
“I’ve at all times voted in opposition to Agnelli, I’ve by no means adopted him. What did he do in such a fragile second [for football]? I’ve no phrases for him. If I say what I feel, they may censor the present.”
Ferrero was also among those to call for sanctions. Former Italy international Antonio Cassano even went as far to argue that Juve, Inter and Milan should be thrown out of Serie A.
There is unlikely to be any action taken, though. Lega Serie A is not in a position to expel the Italian members of what Ceferin has labelled “The Dirty Dozen”.
They would have needed the support of the FIGC and/or UEFA to pull off such a move. However, neither body has, thus far, demonstrated an appetite to punish any of the Super League’s founders.
Ceferin has already welcomed the English golf equipment again into the UEFA household, after they pulled out of the ESL one after the other on Tuesday evening, and he now desires to push forward with the Champions League revamp he unveiled the day before.
FIGC president Gabriele Gravina, meanwhile, acknowledged that while the whole affair underlined “one thing isn’t working” within football, “no types of trials or sentences are deliberate. An concept that has not materialised can’t be sanctioned.”
So, the Italian clubs at the centre of this affair are set to escape punishment. Agnelli, though, is set to suffer. His reputation as a visionary leader and brilliant businessman has been irreparably damaged.
He was the public face of the Super League enterprise and, along with Perez, one of the key protagonists behind the scenes. He has, therefore, been utterly humiliated by its collapse inside 48 hours. His very competency is now being questioned.
Agnelli hasn’t simply lost face, although, he is lost buddies. Powerful ones. He has gone from one of the influential figures in soccer, to arguably its most ostracised.
Just this time final week, he was working an organisation which represents 246 golf equipment throughout Europe – and loved a superb relationship with Ceferin. Now, he’s persona non grata in each the ECA and UEFA.
According to the Corriere dello Sport, Ceferin has spoken to the presidents and chairmen of each founding member of the ESL since Tuesday – bar Agnelli, whereas former ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says he presently does not really feel compelled to name his successor.
Agnelli has extra urgent issues, although, given he’s going through calls to resign as Juventus president. That is massively vital in itself. Firstly, the Agnelli household have owned the membership since 1923. Secondly, he’s answerable for rebuilding a Juventus left devastated by the fallout from Calciopoli.
Since being elected president in 2010, Agnelli has masterminded a fairly gorgeous rebirth. He took a membership that had been relegated simply 4 years earlier and reworked it into essentially the most dominant home drive Italian soccer had ever seen, successful 9 consecutive Scudetti between 2012 and 2020.
However, Agnelli’s final aim was to show Juve right into a European superpower. He didn’t imagine that potential via Serie Successful alone.
After asking Juve’s shareholders to approve a €300m (£340m/£260m) capital increase in October, Agnelli said, “These numbers seem enormous when compared to the Italian reality, but our point of reference is the great European clubs.
“When we have a look at the primary golf equipment in Germany, England and Spain, we see that their turnover ranges from €489m (£423m/$552m) at Borussia Dortmund to nearly a €1bn (£865m/$1.1bn) made this yr by Barcelona. These realities should be our benchmark.
“Our current level of turnover, excluding the transfer of players, is about the level of turnover that Real Madrid had when I took over the presidency of Juventus in 2010.
“It is obvious that the expansion charges we now have developed have been larger than these of Real Madrid however there may be nonetheless a niche, which we should clearly fill.”
Agnelli felt that the one solution to fill that hole was with extra European fixtures. But there have been no ensures. He hated the idea that a club could miss out on Champions League qualification because of “one bad season”.
He described the Champions League revamp as near his “dream” mannequin, given it’s set to allocate two locations to golf equipment with excessive UEFA coefficients who’ve failed to qualify via their home leagues.
Agnelli wished greater than a security web, although – he wished cast-iron ensures, so he helped type a Super League that might characteristic 15 everlasting members.
Of course, that meant breaking away from UEFA, and strolling away from Ceferin. It was an enormous gamble, and it has backfired spectacularly, and quickly.
By the time the Corriere dello Sport and La Repubblica had been releasing excerpts from an interview with Agnelli late on Tuesday evening, through which Agnelli claimed the Super League founders had fashioned a “blood pact” and the undertaking had a “100 per cent possibility of success”, the Premier League members had already pulled out.
Agnelli’s humiliation was full. He has refused to apologise, although. Tellingly, the assertion Juve launched on the Super League’s collapse did not even reference the membership’s followers, a few of whom had hung a banner outdoors their stadium studying, “Our history must not be tarnished, bartered or commercialised. We are Juventus FC. No to the Super League… shame on you!”
Agnelli stays “convinced of the beauty of the project” and he maintains that he has achieved nothing improper. He even insists that he went about issues in a superbly acceptable method.
“If you tell me other methods for putting together such projects… if you were to ask the authorisation of others, I don’t think you would have carried out a project like this,” Agnelli instructed Reuters on Wednesday..
Some essential figures at Juve, although, are disgusted with how this has been dealt with.
As #AgnelliOut was trending on Twitter on Wednesday evening, Sportmediaset had been claiming that the president is now in a deadly place as a result of he now has “many enemies at many levels” all through soccer, with the Gazzetta dello Sport now suggesting that some disgruntled Serie A membership homeowners might even try to sue.
Exor CEO John Elkann has reportedly been left totally unimpressed by his cousin’s dealing with of the entire affair and there has been speak of one other member of the family, Alessandro Nasi, changing Agnelli on the helm.
He stays more likely to maintain onto the presidency however Agnelli has fully lost his grip on the European sport. He’s lengthy since turned his cellphone again on however no person at UEFA or the ECA desires to speak to him anymore.
His fame is in ruins. His coup has failed.