Juventus and Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini came out in support of the failed Super League project on Wednesday and advocated reforms domestically as well.
The Super League was launched in April but collapsed within 48 hours amid a backlash from European football and governments. Juventus and Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only three of the founding 12 members to have failed to renounce the project.
Chiellini is one of the few players to publicly support the idea.
“I’ve been talking with the president for a few years about this,” the veteran defender said in an interview with DAZN. “The future of soccer is going ever more towards a European approach compared to national leagues.
“A player at Juve’s level wants to play those games, with all due respect,” he continued. “Athletes of our level, but also the fans, want to see more European-level fixtures. We have reached the point of no return.”
The Super League project was to break away from the Champions League and run its 20-team competition. Fifteen invited clubs from Europe’s five wealthiest soccer markets would have had protected status, while the other five places would have been open to other clubs.
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Juventus, which is helping lead a legal challenge by Super League members against UEFA, barely made it into the Champions League this year and would not even qualify for European competition from its current standing of eighth in Serie A.
“Institutions, clubs and players must meet to reform the calendar and create new competitions to relaunch this sport, which remains the most beautiful in the world, but for me can also be improved,” Chiellini added.
“In the USA, who are masters of this sort of thing, they have created Super Leagues in every sport.”
Chiellini also supports plans to trim Serie A from 20 teams to 18 to cut the number of domestic games in the crowded soccer calendar.
“There are a few too many teams in Serie A at the moment, we should be 18,” he said. “We could even go back to 16 teams, but I think 18 is the right number in order to raise the competitiveness again and give more space to European-level fixtures.
“The world is moving forward, and we mustn’t exclude change,” Chiellini continued. “I think it’s essential to find people who can discuss together how to improve soccer. At the moment there’s no dialogue, and it’s heading towards an unsustainable situation for everyone: for us and the clubs. Even the fans can sense that.”