Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, says the European Super League (ESL) was created to “save football at this critical moment”.
Perez was speaking during a wide-ranging interview on El Chiringuito de Jugones, Spanish TV show, on Tuesday, barely a few days after 12 top European clubs agreed to join a new tournament that will begin “as soon as is practicable”.
The 74-year-old Spaniard, who doubles as the first ESL chairman, disclosed that football needs to evolve in order to gain more viewers.
“Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it. We are doing this to save football at this critical moment,” he said.
“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.”
Perez’s statement comes at about the same time when UEFA, the European football governing body, responded with a proposed 36-club competition.
Reacting to the development, the Real Madrid president said he doesn’t see UEFA’s new Champions League format as a viable solution with many top clubs “haemorrhaging money and in need of immediate financial injection.”
“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,” he added.
“Together we [the top clubs] have lost €5billion. 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.”
The construction magnate also dispelled threats by UEFA of players’ sanctions and the possibility of clubs being thrown out of the ongoing Champions League season.
“[The players] can remain absolutely calm because that’s not going to happen. Very calm, that’s not going to happen,” he said.
“No, they (Real Madrid) won’t be expelled from Champions [League], that’s for sure. [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.”