Florentino Perez has said he is “completely sure” that Real Madrid and other Super League contenders will not be banned from this season’s Champions League because of their role in the proposed breakaway group – and has blown the format of the current competition and said it is “only attractive from” the quarterfinals “and the clubs” will all die without major reforms.
Madrid President Perez – one of the driving forces behind the Super League project, who has been named chairman – is the first executive to publicly participate in the plan since the announcement on Sunday.
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“The Champions League is attractive from the quarter-finals on, that’s all,” he told the Spanish talk show El Chiringuito. “We play against small teams that are not attractive. Young people prefer to talk to other things. But if we do it all season long, five games on Tuesday and five on Wednesday, it would be unstoppable.”
“What would make money is the 15 clubs that play against each other every week. This is the biggest show in the world, there is nothing like it,” he added. “A real Madrid-Manchester [United] or a Barcelona-Milan is more attractive than Manchester [United] against a small club.
“What is the world asking for? We have fans in Singapore, in China, all over the world. You can see that social media are the followers they have. That makes money.”
12 clubs – AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Internazionale, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur – have joined the ESL as founding members.
The breakaway competition, intended to replace UEFA’s Champions League, which announced its own reform plans on Monday, has announced three more clubs will join while another five would qualify based on their performance.
“Today we will die with the revenue from the Champions League,” said Perez, emphasizing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Less audience, less money. We will all die, the big clubs, the medium-sized clubs, the small clubs. They say that the new Champions League format will be introduced by 2024, by then we will be dead.”
Perez is the first chairman of the Super League, while Andrea Agnelli of Juventus and Joel Glazer of Manchester United have been named vice-chairmen.
The project has been loudly criticized by the football associations, fans and other high-profile clubs that are not involved.
La Liga called the ESL made a “selfish, selfish proposal that is supposed to further enrich the already super-rich” in a statement on Monday.
Sevilla – currently in fourth place in the league behind three ESL supporters Atletico, Real and Barca – have expressed “total rejection of a tournament based solely on economic parameters”.
74-year-old Perez, who was re-elected as President of Real Madrid earlier this month for another four-year term without objection, also turned down the proposal to kick the club out of this season’s Champions League.
Madrid will face Chelsea in the first leg of the semi-finals on Tuesday 27 April, ahead of the second leg on Wednesday 5 May.
“They certainly won’t knock Madrid out of the Champions League,” said Perez. “Not Madrid or [Manchester] City or anyone. I am absolutely sure. Or La Liga. “
Jesper Möller, the Danish member of the UEFA Executive Committee, said on Monday he expected Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City to be banned from the competition.
Perez also insisted that players “can be completely calm” if they are banned from participating in UEFA and FIFA international tournaments such as the World Cup, “because that will not happen”.