Florentino Perez has fired back at critics of the European Super League and insisted it will “save football”.
Plans have been unveiled for some of Europe’s biggest clubs to break away into a European Super League. It would prompt a major shake-up of football as we know it across the continent. The announcement has been met with widespread criticism from fans, pundits and even some players.
Should the competition begin, 20 clubs would go up against each other in parallel to their domestic leagues. They would each receive huge financial benefits for taking part.
However, it would threaten the existing Champions League as well as the current format of many domestic competitions. Hence, many are opposed to the plans and there have already been protests.
But Real Madrid owner Perez – the first chairman of the ESL – has now fiercely defended their plans.
“Whenever there is change, there are always people who oppose it,” he told El Chiringuito.
“We are doing this to save football at this critical moment.
“If we continue with the Champions League there is less and less interest and then it’s over.
“The new format which starts in 2024 is absurd. In 2024, we are all dead.
“In the ’50s, it was a similar situation. UEFA and FIFA went against the new European Cup, but that competition changed football.”
Perez’s own club Madrid are the most successful in European Cup/Champions League history. However, their finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hence, he used the financial aspects of the tournament to explain why it would be a good thing.
“When you don’t have any income other than from television, you have to find a solution to make more attractive matches that fans all over the world can watch with all of the big clubs,” he said.
“Young people are no longer interested in football. They have other platforms on which to distract themselves.
“We could get back some of the money we lost because of the pandemic. We have to raise more money organising more competitive games.”
Perez denies governing bodies can take action
However, other forces will try to block the competition. FIFA and UEFA want to put measures in place to dissuade players from signing up.
They could be denied the ability to play for their countries as well as in other UEFA competitions.
But Perez insists no such action can be taken.
“It will not happen, the law protects us,” he said.
“We will not get into legal issues. It is impossible. The players should remain calm because the threats won’t happen.
“This is not a league for the rich, it’s a league to save football.”