Refusing to back down after the proposed European Super League was damned by the 10 founding Clubs, Florentino Perez looks certain, the supposed master plan is here to stay.
OFFICIAL: all the English clubs are now OUT the #SuperLeague. Process to leave the league has just started.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 20, 2021
Perez said the 12 clubs that agreed to join have binding contracts and cannot leave. After all six English clubs backed out, Juventus, both Milan clubs, Atletico Madrid also followed suit.
In a statement, Perez said “I don’t need to explain what a binding contract is but effectively the clubs cannot leave. Some of them may have bowed out with the pressure. But this project, or one very similar, will move forward and I hope very soon.”
The statement has come despite the defiance and protests that have been staged by fans, pundits, managers etc. Fans of the six Premier League clubs have staged protests outside their stadiums, with a majority of them asking the owners to resign. What appeared to be the final nail in the coffin, with the withdrawal of American Investment Bank JP Morgan who were funding the project, Perez said “It’s not true”
“They have taken some time for reflection, just like the 12 clubs. If we need to make changes we will but the Super League is the best project we’ve thought of,” Perez said.
Perez who has been a driving force of the Super League and was made its chairman has refused to admit defeat. He has been a loose cannon in interviews following the collapse. Despite the possibility of sanctions and punishment being imposed by the governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, Perez has stayed put and his plans have not been deterred.
The Real Madrid president has also criticised the new format of the UEFA Champions League and said he was baffled by UEFA’s Champions League expansion plans that were announced on Monday, The new format will see 36 teams rather than the current 32 compete from the 2024-25 season, each will guarantee at least 10 games per season.
EL CLASSICO UNITED
The two clubs that have not withdrawn have maintained that the proposal is necessary for football. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have been severely hit financially by the pandemic.
The effects of the lockdown and stadiums being shut for fans has brought several questionable aspects about Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s finances, their future earning potential and their ability to remain a force on the pitch in elite football.
So is there any credibility to the points that Perez is trying to highlight?
According to the Barcelona website, Barça closed the year with revenue of 855 million euros, below the 1.047 billion that was set in the budget, which had a forecast profit of 11 million euros. The final result was after-tax losses of 97 million euros, largely as a result of lost revenue due to the effects of the pandemic.
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 14, 2021
A statement by a Barcelona spokesperson read: “FC Barcelona has not been immune to the outbreak of Covid-19, but its consequences have had a massive effect on the entire sports industry, with widespread losses of revenue among all clubs in all the major leagues due to the restrictions that had to be applied to curb the spread of the disease, including competitions first being suspended and then resuming but with matches being played behind closed doors. ECA has estimated the overall loss at around 4 billion euros and Barça, as one of the largest clubs in Europe and with such extensive diversification of its income, is one of the most affected”
On the other hand, Real Madrid had a 13% reduction in income. Revenues of €617 million were budgeted in 2020/21, which was around €300 Million less because of the lack of economic growth during the pandemic.
So taking both situations into account, is there room for a healthy argument with respect to the proposed Super League?
Casual observations don’t hold this statement to be true. It was almost certain there would have been a downward curve in terms of revenue because of the pandemic. The reason Perez has stated, to the formation of the Super League, appear to be ludicrous. In my purview, it can only be seen as financial greed and a way out of the financial mess created by the clubs’ mismanagement.
— utdreport (@utdreport) April 22, 2021
According to the latest Forbes report, the value of football clubs was up by 30% as investor saw the untapped potential in sport’s global appeal. Football clubs will continue to be commercial powerhouses with the sponsorship they can attract.
Barcelona topped the Forbes list of the world’s 20 most valuable soccer teams for the first time edging out Real Madrid who came second. Barcelona valued at $4.76 billion, edged out Real Madrid at $4.75 billion. The top spot had been dominated by two teams for the previous 16 years, with Real Madrid taking it five times and England’s Manchester United 11 times.
Yes, revenue was affected, but that can’t be used as an excuse to lay an attack on the foundations of sport and the ethos of football. It’s hard to envisage a scenario where the Super League will actually give birth with the worldwide flak it has received. It’s just a matter of time until the bruised egos are healed and the talk will slowly die down.