Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez is at the point man in the creation of the Super League. He is also able to see that the teams in that new project that the pandemic exposed the reality of the European economic model.
On Monday, the president went on “El Chiringuito”, Spain’s most watched late night television football talk show to go and defend the Super League after the backlash that emerged in the last two days.
Pérez went on and defended the actions of the 12 teams that have decided to face off against UEFA and argued that the intention of this was to give the game “viability in a very critical moment”.
“The pandemic ended up being decisive in economic situation of the club,” said Pérez. “We are looking to save football.”
Full interview with El Chiringuito (SPANISH)
The Why Behind The Super League
In these times, the pandemic is always going to be a reason for all teams to start to look for changes. Pérez was adamant about this as he says this was the driver behind the acceleration of this project. “Why now for the European Super League? The big clubs of England, Spain and Italy have to find a solution to tackle the bad situation that football is experiencing. We’ve come to the conclusion that by replacing Champions League with the Super League, we’ll be able to alleviate the lost income due to the pandemic.”
One has to remember that many of these teams furloughed employees in an effort to cut losses. In the case of Barcelona, they even had negotiations with their players in order for them to reduce their wages in an effort to prevent jobs from being cut elsewhere. Arsenal even had a public relations gaffe back in October as they laid off the man behind their mascot, Gunnersaurus.
“You have to make profitable income by producing more competitive games. When you have no income other than the broadcasting rights, you come up with a solution of producing more attractive games that enable fans from all over the world to watch the big clubs play against each other. Real Madrid are in a very bad economic situation. Real Madrid, in two seasons, have lost more than 400 million euros — and that’s just Real Madrid!”
Florentino Perez to @elchiringuitotv: "Many important clubs in Spain, Italy and 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 CL, Super League helps the clubs to recover the lost earnings".
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 19, 2021
Is It A Closed Competition?
One of the major question marks of the tournament is that this would end competition for the big 12 clubs of European football as these “Founding Members” would not need to ever qualify for a tournament like the Champions League. This would also leave most of the teams in Europe out of this competition. Pérez denies this saying that there would be teams invited.
“Napoli and Roma would also have a right to join. But what brings in the money are the 15 teams that play each other every week. There is nothing like this. There is no sport in the world that has four billion spectators pending,” he emphasized.
” I simply do not believe that a match between two unknowns are more attractive. I don’t think that people are going to run and turn on the TV to see them play.”
Florentino Perez to Chiringuito: "The attractive thing in football is playing between big clubs, the value for television increases and more income is generated. It's not just the rich who want the #SuperLeague, we're doing it to save football because it's at a critical moment".
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 19, 2021
Change And Appealing to a New Generation of Fans
The Spanish magnate talked about how the game needs to embrace change. This comes on the heels of Anas Laghari, a partner at Key Capital, was announced as Secretary General of the Super League, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Pérez mentions that change is necessary because the demographics are viewing the game differently and while he talks about necessity due to the pandemic, he also harps on the low quality of other teams.
“Football is beginning to lose interest, audiences are going down and television rights too, something had to be done, and the pandemic accelerated this process. Without change, we are ruined. 16 to 24-year-old fans aren’t interested in football. 40% of young people aren’t interested in football, because there are too many games of low quality. It’s in all the statistics and the studies. Teenagers are more interested in playing video games than in football these days, and we have to do something to bring them back. We had to adapt. The same thing happened in the 50’s, UEFA and FIFA were opposed to Bernabéu and the European Cup.”
“No one has interest in the Champions League until the quarter-finals. What generates the most interest? Let the greats play. We’re doing our best for the sport. The Champions League has lost its attraction, we have created the Super League to save football. We have to change something to make this sport more attractive at a global level. That is what we did with Bernabeu.”
Threats from UEFA
On Monday, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that if any of the players would partake in this tournament, they would be banned from playing for their national teams.
UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin says the organisers of the controversial European Super League 'don't care about anything except their wallets'.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 19, 2021
“Players excluded from International matches or tournaments? That’s not going to happen. I want to assure every football player out there, they cannot stop you from playing with your National team. Threats from UEFA president? (Smirks) So be it. Real Madrid will not be banned from the Champions League. I guarantee it 100%, no one can take us out of the Champions League. UEFA has prepared the new format of UCL for 2024. In 2024, we will be dead. We’re not UEFA’s property, they can’t govern us. UEFA’s monopoly is over, a new era is coming.”
Florentino: “I Know What LeBron Earns But Don’t Know What The President Of UEFA Does”
Both UEFA and “Founding Members” of the Super League have been at each other’s necks for the past 36 hours. Florentino Pérez also had his own shot at Ceferin when he was talking about transparency in European football and his comment was a strong one.
“I know LeBron James’ salary because it’s public, but I don’t know the UEFA president’s salary. Why? UEFA does not have a good image throughout its history, there needs to be transparency.”
Madrid’s president then follows by mentioning this he did in order to keep his economy afloat. “I reduced my salary because of the pandemic, I don’t think the president of the UEFA or La Liga did that. We have problems even with our sponsors. Adidas and Emirates have had (financial) difficulties, we also have to be in solidarity with them. There are people who think that nothing has happened since the pandemic. This isn’t a battle for money, this is a battle for football. We’re trying to save football, and some people don’t care because it’s not in their financial interest.
On Tuesday, there will be a decision made in terms of Madrid and their fate in the Champions League as there is speculation that they will be removed from that tournament based on their participation In this rogue tournament.