Florentino Pérez: “A Lot Of Clubs Will Go Bankrupt”
The European Super League is considered by many a shameless cash grab by the participating teams, driven by greed rather than a true concern for European football. ESL and Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez sees it as a lifebelt to some clubs because without it, he says, “a lot of clubs will go bankrupt”.
The rise and fall of the ESL
The proposed European Super League was a controversial project right from the start that drew a lot of criticism from pretty much everyone. The league was announced on April 18 this year, with 12 of the biggest football clubs in Europe – six of them from the English Premier League – as its founding members. According to them, the league would’ve offered high-profile teams a competition in which they could’ve played among themselves, offering fans more exciting matches to follow and more opportunities for soccer betting online. The matches of the current European tournaments – the Champions League and the Europa League – are often predictable, especially when a team from one of the top teams in Europe play. The odds at bookmakers like Betway clearly reflect these differences – top tier clubs from the EPL, along with teams like Real Madrid, PSG and such, always have odds listed in their favour.
The ESL would’ve given fans – especially international fans – a series of high-profile matches to follow outside national leagues and traditional UEFA competitions, it would’ve offender sports media more events to cover, and would’ve offered Betway users more opportunities to bet on exciting and less predictable matches.
But as you might expect, everyone from fans to UEFA and FIFA opposed the creation of the league. They called the move a shameless cash grab, an attempt to earn more by clubs that already have massive budgets and often filthy rich ownership. Ultimately, most founding members withdrew from the league, so three days after the announcement it ceased operations.
In defense of the ESL
Real Madrid and European Super League president Florentino Pérez defended the project in an exclusive interview given to As.com late last week, saying it was an attempt to get football out of the crisis it has been in for quite some time, which was even aggravated by the pandemic.
Pérez revealed that the founders wanted to discuss the ESL with the UEFA earlier this year but the European football governing body didn’t even want to talk about it, which – according to Pérez – clearly shows that they saw their monopoly threatened by the ESL.
He made it clear that the ESL does not go against national competitions and it isn’t looking for extra revenue for the extra profits – he says football is in crisis, with several clubs on the edge of bankruptcy.
As for UEFA’s proposed revamping of the Champions League, he pointed out that it is not a real solution to the problem at hand, and it’s not even an improvement on the current model. More importantly, it would only take effect in 2024, which is way too late for some of the clubs. Pérez pointed out that the 12 founding clubs in the ESL lost more than 650 million euros in the first three months of the pandemic, and the total losses may easily reach 2.5 million euros by the end of the current season.
Finally, Pérez revealed that the project is not dead, the clubs’ contracts remain valid, and the financing from JP Morgan is still there… but it will have to take time and reflect on it, the reaction to it, and the way to go in the future.