Florentino Perez has warned that no club can leave the European Super League after signing binding contracts to participate and denied JP Morgan have pulled their backing to fund the competition.
Speaking out yet again after a flurry of clubs withdrew, Perez – who heads the controversial competition – slammed teams for ‘manipulating our project’ and vowed that the tournament ‘still exists’ and will go ahead regardless.
The Premier League ‘Big Six’ – namely Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham – were the first to pull out of the Super League 48 hours after its official founding, but Real Madrid chief Perez stated earlier this week all 12 clubs involved signed a ‘legally binding contract’.
Speaking to Spanish outlet AS, the 74-year-old has reiterated his point the plan is only on standby and accused others of ‘manipulating’ what the Super League project is about to mask fears of what they could lose.
When asked what penalties clubs who have withdrawn could face, Perez said: ‘I’m not going to explain now what a binding contract is… But the clubs can’t leave.
‘Some of them, because of pressure, have had to say that they’re leaving. But this project or one like it will go forward, and I hope it’s soon.
‘The Super League still exists, and the members are still in it. Now we have given ourselves some weeks to think, while we face the violence that some people, who don’t want to lose their privileges, have used to manipulate our project.’
Florentino Perez has again insisted no side can withdrawn from the European Super League
Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea and John W.Henry’s Liverpool withdrew earlier this week
Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan are among the other clubs to withdraw, but it is not only football institutions that have pulled their commitment to the project.
JP Morgan pulled out of its £3.5billion backing of the breakaway league on Friday, admitting it had ‘misjudged’ the situation, with the American bank having also suffered a sustainability rating downgrade beforehand.
But Perez denied the investment bank had withdrawn its funding, adding: ‘That’s not true, they haven’t [withdrawn] either.
‘They’ve taken some time for reflection, like the 12 clubs, and if we have to change something, we’ll change it.’
The news of the Super League broke just a day before a revamped Champions League format was announced by UEFA.
Avram and Joel Glazer also took Manchester United out of the breakaway competition
Perez also denied that American bank JP Morgan have withdrawn their financial backing
The controversial new format – which is due to start in 2024 and continue until at least 2033 – will see 36 clubs qualifying for a ‘first phase’, where all clubs will play against 10 opponents in a Swiss-style system.
Those fixtures will end in a league table, with the top eight qualifying for the knockout stage and the next 16 sides contesting play-offs for the remaining eight slots.
The format has also had its detractors, and Perez admitted he remains unconvinced, and warned of clubs going bankrupt if a solution is not found.
‘The truth is, no [the plans do not convince me],’ Perez added.
The 74-year-old also admitted the revamped Champions League format does not convince him
‘Not the format, that nobody understands, nor the time period, because by 2024… either we fix this before or all the clubs will go bankrupt.
‘There will be a mutiny of the teams as they go bankrupt, because the only ones who will survive will be state financed clubs or who have multimillionaire owners, who are willing, for their own entertainment, to lose hundreds of millions each season.’
The fallout from the Super League has also continued in the Premier League, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the board apologising for their decision to join the breakaway.
Tottenham’s Supporters Trust, meanwhile, have called for chairman Daniel Levy and the ENIC group to resign over the failed saga, with fan trust now ‘irreparably broken’.
Arsenal fans hung an effigy of unpopular owner Kroenke as tempers flared at the Emirates
Manchester United owner Avram Glazer has reportedly refused to apologise to the club’s fans over the European Super League saga
Their rivals Arsenal have faced huge criticism, with fans turning up in their droves to protest outside the Emirates and hanging an effigy of owner Stan Kroenke over the club’s involvement and urging the family to sell the club.
Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer has reportedly refused to apologise to the club’s fans over their involvement, just days after his brother Joel admitted they ‘need to better communicate’ with supporters.
Liverpool owners FSG have also come under fire from supporters, but boss Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson both defended American chief John W Henry – with the former insisting they’re ‘not bad people’ but ‘made a bad decision’.
UEFA announced on Friday that no teams – including Perez’s Champions League semi-finalists Madrid – will be thrown out of European competition this season, despite Los Blancos still being a member of the Super League.