MADRID, April 20 (Reuters) – Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is adamant that the European Super League is necessary and blamed “lies” for the proposed new competition not being accepted by supporters.
Twelve of Europe’s top football clubs announced on Sunday they were launching a breakaway Super League in the face of widespread opposition from within the game and beyond.
Despite the backlash, Perez, who was named chairman of the Super League, told French newspaper L’Equipe on Tuesday it was full steam ahead with the plans.
“The (economic) situation is so bad that everyone is in this agreement to carry out this project and find a solution, nobody was pressured into it,” Perez said.
“Reactions are negative because some people have told lies. They said the Super League will be completely closed, which isn’t true. That we don’t reward merit is false.
“Sides will get into the Super League because of sporting merit. They said domestic leagues will disappear and that’s not true.”
Of the founding members, six are from England, including Manchester United, with three each from Spain and Italy. Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain voiced opposition to the project.
The league plans to add three more teams as founder members and then run a 20-team midweek league with five teams qualifying annually “based on their achievements in the prior seasons”.
Perez said he was certain Bayern and PSG will take part.
“We need to invite them to join at the right moment, because now there’s a lot of pressure surrounding them. I’m sure that they’ll eventually join us, but we’ve not spoken with them yet.”
The Super League argues that it would increase revenues to the top clubs and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game.
However, the sport’s governing bodies, other teams and fan organisations say it will increase the power and wealth of the elite clubs and the partially closed structure of the league goes against European football’s long-standing model.
Unlike Europe’s current Champions League competition for the continent’s leading clubs, where teams have to qualify through their domestic league, the founding Super League teams would guarantee themselves a place in the new competition every year. (Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)