The European Club Association, the body which represents nearly 250 soccer teams across the continent, has today reintegrated the nine clubs which withdrew from the controversial breakaway European Super League project.

The nine clubs – AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur – have all been welcomed back as members of the body for the 2019-23 ECA membership cycle.

The teams had resigned as members of the ECA when the ESL was announced in April but, after quickly pulling out, they sent official requests to the ECA board “to consider the withdrawal of their previous resignation requests”.  

The nine clubs reportedly signed legally binding agreements to be reintegrated back into the ECA.

However, Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid are not among the clubs returning to the ECA board as they remain committed to the ESL project.

In a statement released today, the ECA said: “In its decision, and after an exhaustive process of re-engagement by the clubs and re-assessment by ECA over recent months, the ECA executive board took into consideration the clubs’ acknowledgement that the so-called European Super League project was not in the interests of the wider football community and their publicly communicated decisions to abandon said ESL project completely.

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“The ECA board also acknowledged the clubs’ stated willingness to engage actively with ECA in its collective mission to develop European club football – in the open and transparent interests of all, not the few.

“This decision of the ECA board marks the end of a regrettable and turbulent episode for European football and aligns with ECA’s relentless focus to strengthen unity in European football.”

Andrea Agnelli, the president of Juventus, relinquished his role as ECA chairman after the ESL announcement and was quickly replaced by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

At a gathering convened by Al-Khelaifi in Munich in June, the executive board of the ECA pledged to support the “recovery and development” of European soccer.

The meeting, which was attended by Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, addressed issues arising from the attempted breakaway, with the ECA board pledging to reinforce the organisation’s relationship with Uefa by moving forward with a new memorandum of understanding for the period beyond 2024 when a new structure for the Champions League is due to come into effect.

It also plans to engage in urgent talks with Uefa to request the development of various financial support measures for European clubs impacted by the pandemic.