Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has defended the creation of a European Super League and says it will ‘save football’, while he dismissed the possibility of Uefa imposing sanctions on the 12 breakaway clubs.
On Sunday evening, the Premier League’s ‘big six’ along with trios of clubs from Spain and Italy announced they would form a new competition to rival the Champions League, with none of the founding members able to be relegated and just five ‘open’ slots for other clubs.
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The plans were greeted with outrage from fans, pundits, governing bodies, politicians and even players, with clubs threatened with expulsion from their domestic leagues and Uefa saying any players from the Super League would be banned from playing international games.
Despite the furore, Real Madrid chief Perez – who has been appointed the first Chairman of the Super League – has defended the plans and rubbished suggestions the 12 clubs could be punished.
‘The biggest clubs in England, Italy and Spain have found a solution to the very difficult situation that football is experiencing. Real Madrid in two seasons have lost €400million (£344m), and that’s just Real Madrid,’ he told Spanish TV station El Chiringuito on Monday night.
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‘When you only have income from television, you understand the solution is to create games that are more competitive and more attractive and that can be seen around the world. We decided in midweek instead of the Champions League we could have a Super League with more matches.’
He continued: ‘Football has to evolve. It is losing interest. We have to think why 16-24-year-olds are losing interest. There are bad quality matches and other platforms for entertainment. We have to make it more attractive. It is not something for the rich. We do this to save football.
‘The money goes to everyone, it is a pyramid. If those above have money, it trickles down. There are 15 teams that generate value and five will enter on sporting merit. It is not closed. It is open. We have never thought of a closed league.’
On the prospect of players being banned from national teams, Perez said: ‘Every player can be calm because that’s not going to happen. They won’t be banned if they join the Super League.’
He also refuted suggestions the renegade clubs still competing in Europe this season could be booted out of the competitions or their domestic leagues: ‘Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea will not be banned from the Champions League or domestic leagues. Impossible. I can assure you of that, 100%. It won’t happen, the law protects us. This is impossible.’
Perez also rounded on Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, who had given a passionate press conference earlier in the day in which he hit out at the ‘dirty dozen’ and branded both Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli and Manchester United’s Ed Woodward ‘snakes’.
‘President Ceferin insulted Andrea Agnelli today, it is not possible. It’s crazy to discuss a president of a world club like Juventus,’ he added. ‘This is something unacceptable, Uefa must change, we don’t want a president who insults other presidents.
‘Why aren’t Uefa and La Liga salaries public? Why haven’t salaries been reduced like everyone else during the pandemic? We need more transparency. We know the salary of LeBron James but we don’t know the salary of the Uefa president.’
Perez even made a comment about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s intervention, saying: ‘Boris Johnson said he will do everything to cancel the Super League because they explained that the Premier League would disappear. This is false, it’s not true. Everything will go back to normal.’
Photo Credit: Getty