“I don’t think that project is now still up and running,” Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Italian club Juventus and one of the plan’s key architects, said on Wednesday.
The 12 teams that tried to form the doomed league have been accused of seeking to orchestrate a massive cash grab by walling themselves off from competition, a goal that runs counter to the traditions of European football.
How did JPMorgan get it so wrong?
The bank declined to comment. But a source familiar with the discussions said JPMorgan’s involvement was vetted by an internal committee that assesses potential deals for reputation or credit risks. The lender predicted there could be controversy, but in the end, it would be a matter “for the football world to decide.”
“There’s always a large emotional component to [sports],” the source said. “When you’re making a financial decision on a loan, you have to try to put emotion aside.”
The source said discussions about forming a league had been underway for a number of years, though JPMorgan was not involved in any negotiations between clubs.
The bank had existing relationships with many of the teams involved. It provided stadium financing for Real Madrid, whose president Florentino Perez was also set to lead the Super League.
The debt-financing agreement was a long-term bet, with funding set to be paid off over 23 years and secured against the competition’s future broadcasting rights, which were expected to be extremely lucrative.
But JPMorgan clearly underestimated the magnitude of the backlash, which the source admitted had been “extraordinary.”
The bank will not suffer a financial loss if the project doesn’t go ahead. But among some fans of the sport, its image has taken a major hit.
“If it had, calls for a boycott would probably be heard already,” wrote financial editor Nils Pratley.