Florentino Perez: Super League being created to ‘save soccer’

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. (Claude Paris/AP)

MADRID — Florentino Perez, the founding chairman of the Super League, on Tuesday said the new competition is being created to save soccer for everyone, not to make the rich clubs richer.

The president of Real Madrid, one of the 12 clubs behind the breakaway competition that would compete with the Champions League, said it’s “impossible” that players from the participating teams will be banned by UEFA. Although he said the new league likely won’t start next season if no deal is reached with European soccer’s governing body.

He didn’t completely rule out the possibility that the new league won’t get started at all, but indicated that the clubs were prepared to go all the way to make it happen.

Perez, the first of the club presidents to speak publicly after the proposed new league was announced on Sunday, said clubs were “ruined” financially by the coronavirus pandemic and the Super League was the solution to “save soccer in a critical moment.”

“We are all going through a very difficult situation,” Perez said in an interview broadcast after midnight on the Spanish television program El Chiringuito de Jugones. “When you don’t have revenue, the only way to change that is to try to have more competitive games, more attractive games.”

“Soccer has to evolve, just like businesses have to evolve and everyone has to evolve,” he added. “Soccer has to adapt. We felt that we needed to change something to help make soccer more attractive.”

Perez said the new Champions League format proposed by UEFA for 2024 won’t produce enough revenue to help save the sport.

“With the way the revenues are now in the Champions League, all clubs will die,” Perez said. “The big ones, the medium ones and the small ones. By 2024, when this new format is supposed to begin, the clubs will all be gone.”

He said the greater revenue brought in by the bigger clubs in a competition like the Super League would benefit the soccer industry in general.

“This is what is profitable, and this money will end up reaching everyone,” Perez said, noting that the big clubs are the ones that will keep buying players and will have the solidarity to keep helping everyone in soccer.

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