In a worrying sign about the future of football, Juventus President Andrea Agnelli has caused controversy by suggesting that Atalanta shouldn’t have access to Champions League football “without international history and thanks to just one great season.”
Agnelli was speaking at the FT Business of Football Summit in London and seemed to continue his push for a European Super League.
“I have great respect for everything that Atalanta are doing, but without international history and thanks to just one great season, they had direct access into the primary European club competition. Is that right or not?” said Agnelli.
“Then I think of Roma, who contributed in recent years to maintaining Italy’s ranking. They had one bad season and are out, with all the consequent damage to them financially.
“We must also protect investment and costs. So would Atalanta therefore have less chance of playing at a high level? I don’t have the answer to that, it’s just about setting up a transparent process to make this decision.
“There are teams who won the league or cup and achieve qualification just on the basis of their country’s ranking. The point is how we balance the contribution to European football and the performance of a single year.”
Atalanta finished third in Serie A last season and are currently fourth. In their debut Champions League campaign, La Dea reached the Round of 16, winning the first leg 4-1 against Valencia.
Agnelli is desperate for a European Super League that will include Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan as the representatives from Italy. The likes of Atalanta, Roma, Napoli and Lazio would be left on the outside watching the ‘Big Three” get richer and more powerful, taking out any chance that one of the “smaller” teams could compete for the league title or a European trophy.