Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says the “Super League” project goes ahead and claims the 12 clubs that founded the structure “only gave themselves a few weeks to reflect.”

real madrid eden hazard
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez welcoming Belgian superstar Eden Hazard to Real Madrid. (Image: Twitter/RealMadrid)

Perez is convinced a common project involving all the big clubs in Europe is the only way to drive the sport forward. Elected chairman of the Super League, Perez believes many clubs will go bankrupt soon because of their huge financial problems.

Perez spoke to Madrid-based paper AS about the madness caused by the creation and the apparent cancelation of the Super League.

“The entity exists and the members who make up the Super League are there, too,” Perez said. “We’ve given ourselves a few weeks to reflect on the hostility with which certain people who don’t want to lose their privileges have manipulated the project.”

Recently reelected president of Real Madrid, Perez assures the Super League project is not going to help just a privileged few, but the entire specter of football stakeholders.

“It’s not a plan which excludes clubs, nor is it affecting other leagues. In fact, it’s the best possible solution and it has been created to get football out of the crisis. [] It does not go against the domestic competitions and its objective is to ensure that more money is available for all sections of football.”

Perez opposed new Champions League format

The Super League planned to have the same 15 clubs in every season. Five other seats at the big table would have been filled through qualifiers. The method in which qualification was going to be achieved did not get disclosed. Apart from the three Spanish giants (Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid), the so-called ‘Top Six’ in England (Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal) and Italy’s glamorous trio (Juventus, Inter and AC Milan), Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and PSG were also invited to be part of the elite 15. All three of them turned down the proposal.

UEFA has settled for a revamped system in the Champions League starting 2024. The top European club competition will have a brand new format, with more games for each team and a slightly different access procedure.

Perez himself is ready to reshape the Super League he helped create.

“We cannot wait until 2024. There must be something bad that we did,” Perez said. “We are going to try and turn this around and develop more ideas. Maybe the solution is for the top four teams in every league to enter. Something needs to be done because today’s youth, those between 14 and 24, are not following football because they see it as being boring compared to other forms of entertainment.”

Perez went on to reiterate his belief in the Super League concept. “There are four billion football fans worldwide and half of them are fans of the Super League clubs,” he said. “Football is the only global sport. I don’t understand UEFA’s project and I don’t think the change they plan [for the Champions League] is a good solution.”

UEFA says ‘punishment day’ coming, Perez fears financial chaos

Real Madrid’s official goes on quoting a report from accounting giants KPMG. According to Perez, numbers show that the 12 Super League founders have lost a total of $785 million in the three months at the beginning of the pandemic alone. “By the end of the season, the losses will be between $2.4 billion and $3 billion. [French club] Girondins Bordeaux have recently gone into administration. Either we do something soon or many clubs will go under,” Perez argues.

UEFA president Ceferin is firm in his stance against the Super League. He insists that the 12 clubs involved in the breakaway can be punished and jokes about Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus, the three which have publicly refused to quit so far. Referring to them in an interview for The Mail on Sunday, Ceferin called them ‘the ones who feel the Earth is flat and think the Super League still exists.”

“Everyone has to take consequences for what they did and we cannot pretend nothing happened,” Ceferin warned. “Everyone will be held responsible. In what way, we will see.” English clubs might face smaller punishment, as they were first to pull out: “For me, the difference between the English clubs and the other six is clear. They pulled out first. They admitted they made a mistake. You have to have some greatness to say ‘I was wrong.”

Perez: ‘Clubs can’t leave’

Florentino is positive a Super League model is impossible to stop. Despite the public apologies issued by many of the clubs, Perez insists nobody made a formal exit from the Super League. “And nor did JP Morgan,” Perez assures.

The bank which provided a $4.2 billion financial package to the clubs released a statement on Friday saying it “misjudged how the deal would be viewed.”

“The fact is clubs can’t leave. Some, because of the pressure, have had to say they’ll leave,” Perez added. “But this project or something very similar will happen. I hope it’s soon. The bank hasn’t left either. They’ve taken time to reflect, like the 12 clubs. The Super League is the best project we’ve thought can be carried out.”

Heavy protests in England against the Super League

After a few thousand supporters turned up on Monday afternoon at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground to show their discontent with the club’s involvement in the Super League, other English fans followed suit. On Saturday, Manchester United supporters staged a protest outside the iconic Old Trafford. They asked for the Glazer family (also the owners of NLF team Tampa Bay Buccaneers) to quit. Joel Glazer wrote an open letter of apology addressed to the fans with little success.

Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke (the owner of LA Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Rapids) is also wanted out, with people gathering in their thousands on Saturday to ask him to leave.