Madrid: A controversial decision to form a breakaway European Super League was taken “to save football” and in part motivated because “young people are no longer interested” in the game, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Tuesday.
Speaking for the first time since 12 top European clubs announced on Sunday that they would form a new elite league, the new chairman of the Super League said football needed to evolve and adapt to the times.
“Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it... and we are doing this to save football at this critical moment,” Perez said on the 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 have been joined in the venture by two other Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Premier League clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have also signed up to the plans.
The founding group of 12 is completed by Italian Serie A trio 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 said they had not invited Paris Saint Germain nor any German clubs and had not yet decided what criteria would be used to choose the additional teams.
But the top teams were losing money and needed a fresh impetus, he stressed, and the expanded Champions League announced by UEFA on Monday was no 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 (euros),” he said of the top clubs’ alleged losses. “In two seasons Madrid have lost 400 million.” — Reuters