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October 21, 2021
Florentino Perez insists Super League isn't canceled, only on 'standby'

Florentino Perez insists Super League isn’t canceled, only on ‘standby’

Speaking to Spanish radio station El Larguero on Wednesday night, the 74-year-old insisted the other clubs “haven’t left” the project and they would continue working to make the breakaway competition viable.

The Super League all-but collapsed on Tuesday, just 48 hours after it was announced, following the withdrawal of the six Premier League clubs involved. Italian teams Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan followed suit, as did Atletico Madrid, with just Real Madrid and Barcelona still remaining.

“The project is on standby,” Perez said. “I’d say the body exists, but if half the group goes because they’re tired after what they heard over the last 24 hours, I don’t want to stick around. No, Juventus has not left. Why do [you] say they’ve left? Milan hasn’t left either. Why do you [you] say that? These things you’re saying, that people say.”

When asked if the 10 clubs that have announced their withdrawal from the Super League were still part of the project, Perez answered: “They are, we’re all there together and Barcelona is thinking to see what we can do. For example, someone today said: ‘Let’s see if of the 20 [teams], it includes the top four from England, the top four from Italy, Spain. That could be a way to do it.

“Look, nobody has paid [a fine] yet because this all just happened and additionally pretty much all [of the clubs] remain. They’re pretty much all still there [in the Super League]. Everyone. Right now, everyone. Right now, all 12. They haven’t left yet.”

Florenitno Perez, president of Real Madrid, was set to be chairman of the Super League.

Soon after the Super League was announced, UEFA and the respective leagues suggested the teams involved would be banned from competing in their tournaments, including the World Cup and European Championships.

Similarly, fans were furious that the exclusive competition’s 12 founding members — who have been dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” — hadn’t even thought to consult them about the proposed plans and UK politicians quickly stepped in and announced measures could be brought in to prevent the Super League’s formation.

“I’ve never seen such aggressiveness, by the president of UEFA [Aleksander Ceferin] and from some presidents within the Spanish leagues,” he said. “It was like something orchestrated. We were all surprised by it. Because after we revealed the format, we told the UEFA president and the UEFA president hadn’t even responded.

“And from then on, this aggressiveness started like I’ve never seen before and I’ve been in football for 20 years. I’ve never seen this in my life. Never. There were threats, insults as if we had killed someone. As if we had killed football.”

Perez, who was set to be the chairman of the Super League, admitted the hesitation of one Premier League club to join the project ended up being “contagious,” with the other five concerned about the backlash in the UK.

The breakaway tournament was planned as a 20-team competition, with 15 founding members given a permanent place in the league — no matter how bad their results were — and another five spaces available for other teams to qualify for each season.

The new structure would all but end competition at the highest level and would make it almost impossible for smaller teams to break into Europe’s elite, shattering the sport’s long-standing ethos.

“I’m a bit sad and disappointed because we’ve been working, I think, three years on this project,” Perez said. “The project simply consists of saying: ‘What can we do to fight against the economic situation we’re seeing right now in Spanish soccer?’

“And it’s really easy to understand. You can’t touch La Liga, it’s part of all of our history. So, the place where you could make some money is in mid-week matches. So, the format we have now, which is the Champions League, is an obsolete format that is old and which only generates interest starting with the quarterfinals.

“The issue is, if we’ve respected the leagues up until now, the only way to have revenue is for the Champions, which does not generate revenue, makes some kind of competition that generates a lot of revenue. And that’s what we’re working on.”

Contrary to Perez’s stance, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, believed to be another key driver behind the Super League, said on Wednesday that the new competition was no longer viable without the six Premier League teams.

“Look, I think, to be frank and honest: no,” he said, as reported by Reuters.