Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says the European Super League will “save football at this critical moment” and insists players taking part in the competition will not be banned from representing their national teams.
The Spaniard’s comments come after 12 leading European clubs committed to join a new tournament that will begin “as soon as is practicable”. Speaking for the first time since the announcement, the new chairman of the Super League said football needed to evolve.
“Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it. We are doing this to save football at this critical moment,” Perez said on Spanish TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones.
“Audiences are decreasing and rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt.
“Young people are no longer interested in football. Why not? Because there are a lot of poor quality games and they are not interested, they have other platforms on which to distract themselves.”
Real Madrid are joined by La Liga rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as well as Premier League clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
The founding group of 12 is completed by Italian clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. Another three will be included as guaranteed members and five others will qualify to join them each year.
Perez stressed the top teams were losing money, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that the expanded Champions League announced by UEFA on Monday was not the answer.
“If we continue with the Champions League there is less and less interest and then it’s over,” he said. The new format, which starts in 2024 is absurd. In 2024 we are all dead.
“Together we have lost €5 billion,” he said of the top clubs’ alleged losses. “In two seasons Madrid have lost €400m.
“When you have no income other than television, you say that the solution is to make more attractive matches that fans from all over the world can see with all the big clubs, and we came to the conclusion that if instead of having a Champions League we have a Super League we would be able to alleviate what we have lost.”
Perez also criticised UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who earlier in the day had said players featuring in the competition will be banned from the World Cup and European Championship.
“[The players] can remain absolutely calm because that’s not going to happen. Very calm, that’s not going to happen,” Perez said.
Asked if Real Madrid will be kicked out of this season’s Champions League, he added: “No, they won’t be expelled from Champions (League), that’s for sure.
“Real Madrid won’t be, (Manchester) City won’t be, none of them will be expelled, that’s for sure. I’m completely sure of it. Not from Champions (League), not from La Liga, nothing like that.
“If we reach an agreement with UEFA we want to start (the new league) in August, if not, we can wait a year.”