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MADRID, April 21 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid have become the latest club to abandon the doomed Super League project, a statement from the La Liga side said on Wednesday.
They became the first Spanish side out of the 12 founding members to abandon the idea, which appears set for failure after widespread criticism across the football world after it was announced on Sunday.
The six Premier League teams involved all withdrew from the project on Tuesday, before Inter Milan pulled out a day later with AC Milan indicating they would do the same. That left Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona as the only members.
"The Atletico board, meeting this Wednesday morning, has decided to formally communicate to the Super League and the rest of its founding clubs its decision to not finally formalise their adherence to the project," Atletico said.
"Atletico made the decision last Monday to join this project taking into account circumstances that no longer exist today.
"The squad of the first team and its coach have shown their satisfaction with the club's decision, understanding that sporting merits must prevail over any other criterion."
BEST DECISION FOR THE CLUB
Coach Diego Simeone said that he has spoken to club CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin ahead of the announcement.
"We saw there were doubts about the situation and then what then happened last night when clubs started to withdraw from the Super League," he told a news conference.
"I knew the club would take the best decision for the club. It's a nod to our people and the Atletico family, the employees, players and president.
"I was always confident of what the club would do because they'd always take the best decision for the club and we understand that this decision is the best for all concerned."
PLAYERS BACK THE DECISION
Atletico's players have also backed the club's decision to walk away from the proposed Super League.
"The Atletico Madrid squad wants to show their satisfaction about the final decision taken by our club to walk away from the Super League project," club captain Koke tweeted.
"We'll continue to fight from our position that Atleti continues to grow through the values of effort and sporting merit that have always characterised us, so that all of you out there can continue to see yourselves reflected in these signals of identity.
"We'll carry on working hard, focused on tomorrow's game." (Reporting by Joseph Walker Editing by Christian Radnedge)