European Super League chairman: We’re doing this to save football

The chairman of the new European Super League has defended the tournament, saying those involved are doing it to save football.

Florentino Perez, who is also president of Real Madrid, told El Chiringuito TV: “We’re doing this to save football, which is in a critical moment.

“The important clubs in England, Italy, and Spain must find a solution to a very bad situation that football is going through.

“The only way of making money from admissions is by making more competitive games that are more attractive, that fans around the world can see.”

AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined the Super League as founding clubs, securing vast financial rewards for themselves at a time when takings have been hit by coronavirus restrictions.

But they have been criticised by fans, former footballers, and politicians, many of whom have called them greedy and warned that the new competition will damage the game.

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UEFA, in a joint statement with FA, Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A, criticised the plans and did not rule out legal action.

It also threatened to ban players from all other competitions at domestic, European, or world level, meaning they could be prevented from playing on their national teams.

But Mr Perez said: “Football has to evolve, like life evolves.

“Football has to change and keep on adapting to the times we live in.

“We have to change something to make this sport more attractive at the world level, so a really simple thing occurred to us.”

The 14 Premier League clubs that are not involved in the Super League will discuss the situation during a virtual meeting on Tuesday chaired by chief executive Richard Masters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent much of Monday saying he wanted to make sure the new league did not go ahead “in the way it’s currently being proposed”.

Mr Johnson reiterated this opinion in The Sun on Tuesday, writing to fans: “It is your game – and you can rest assured that I’m going to do everything I can to give this ludicrous plan a straight red.”

He added: “Football clubs in every town and city and at every tier of the pyramid have a unique place at the heart of their communities, and are an unrivalled source of passionate local pride.

“And the joy of the game’s current structure, one that has kept people coming back year after year, generation after generation, is that even the most seemingly endless period of frustration is made bearable by the possibility, however remote, that one day you could see them rise up.

“After all if Leicester City can win the Premier League, if Nottingham Forest can be champions of Europe not once but twice then maybe, just maybe, your team can do the same.

“But that can only happen if the playing field is even vaguely level and the ability to progress is universal.”

On Monday night, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he had not changed his opinion since saying in 2019 that he hoped such a competition would “never happen”.

Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville, former United captain Roy Keane, and former Football Association and Manchester City chairman David Bernstein were among the most vocal critics on Monday, all three of them criticising the teams in the new league for their “greed”.

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