The Sunday News
New European Super League president Florentino Perez insists the controversial breakaway league is necessary to save clubs in financial terms and is determined it will go ahead – whether Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich continue to refuse to join or not.
The Real Madrid president was announced on Sunday in a similar role to his current post as the first chief of the new league, which involves Premier League ‘Big Six’ Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham replacing their European commitments with UEFA, such as the Champions League.
Perez’s Madrid were joined by LaLiga rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid while Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan have also signed up, but German giants Bayern Munich and French counterparts PSG have insisted they will not be following suit.
But speaking on El Chiringuito in Spain, the 74-year-old claimed the Super League was a necessary measure for all clubs including his own to combat the loss of income brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
And he insisted that it was ‘bulls***’ that it could be cancelled if other big sides refuse to eventually join, claiming football would be ‘dead’ in three years’ time under current competitions and models.
“Many important clubs in Spain, Italy and the UK want to find a solution to a very bad financial situation. The only way is to play more competitive games. If instead of playing the Champions League, the Super League helps the clubs to recover the lost earnings. Here at Real Madrid we’ve lost a lot of money, we are all going through a very bad situation. When there is no profit, the only way is to play more competitive games during the week. The Super League will save clubs financially.
“PSG were not invited, as of today. We haven’t even spoken to German clubs. We are now 12 clubs, we want to become 15 clubs. If PSG and Bayern Munich refuse, the Super League competition will not be cancelled. This is bulls***. Football must evolve like everything in life. Football has to adapt to the times we live in now. Football is losing interest from fans, TV rights are decreasing. We wanted to do the Super League, the pandemic has given us urgency, and right now we are all ruined in football.
“Even in the Premier League, if the top clubs are economically stronger, all the other clubs will also become stronger. It is a consequence. We want a dialogue with UEFA as we proposed in the Super League, we want to save football. This Super League is not for the rich, but it’s to save football. If this continues, football will disappear and by 2024 we would already be dead. This is the only way to save everyone: big, medium and small clubs.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has however, said he will work with football authorities to oppose the new league.
Those comments come on the same day that reports emerged teams involved in the Super League could be kicked out of this season’s Champions League and Europa League, and their players barred from playing for their national sides.
UEFA themselves also revealed bold plans to revamp the current Champions League competition from 2024-25, with no group stage, an increase to 26 teams and 100 extra games on an unprecedented day of news for the European footballing landscape.
But Perez attempted to allay both Johnson and Super League clubs’ fears, insisting the Premier League would not disappear, and nor could teams be chucked out of Europe this season, but insisted those who have signed up cannot back out.
“Boris Johnson said he will do everything to cancel the Super League because they explained to him that the Premier League would disappear: it’s false, it’s not true. Everything will go back to normal.
“The 15 founding clubs are the ones that matter the most in terms of entertainment. Others likes of Napoli, Roma will have a chance to be in the competition one year or another and then let’s see. The new Champions League format for 2024 is something absurd. I have no personal interest in making this Super League. I am not the owner of Real but only the president because Real is owned by the members. I only want to save football.
“Real Madrid and other Super League clubs will NOT be excluded from this 2020-2021 Champions League. It won’t happen, the law protects us. This is impossible. Players banned from international competitions and National teams according to UEFA? Don’t worry, this will not happen. They won’t be banned if they join the Super League. The contract of the Super League is binding. Nobody can leave, we will work all together. All the clubs signed the contracts last Saturday, there’s no problem.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin earlier took a swipe at Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli after he signed from his post as president of the European Club Association.
Ceferin said: “Andrea Agnelli is the biggest disappointment of all, I’ve never seen a person that would lie so many times, so persistently as he did. It’s unbelievable.”
But Perez said UEFA were in the wrong for attacking Agnelli, and called on the governing body to become more ‘transparent’ when they hold talks with them.
“President Ceferin insulted Andrea Agnelli today, it is not possible. It’s crazy to discuss a president of a world club like Juventus. This is something unacceptable, UEFA must change, we don’t want a president who insults other presidents. UEFA is a monopoly but it needs to be more transparent. We want to save football for the next 20 years, it is in a time of serious danger. If you win, you receive €120m (£103m) to €130m (£112m) from UEFA but with the Super League we will earn much more.
“We will speak to UEFA, as we said in the statement. We have to discuss with UEFA the five spots available in the Super League. UEFA has been working on the new format of the Champions League, but I honestly don’t understand it. We want to save football. It will become like a pyramid because we big clubs will have more money and we will be able to invest it by buying players… if the big clubs lose their money as is happening, the whole football system crashes as with the Champions League.” —dailymail.co.uk