European Super League chief Perez says 'it's impossible' Real Madrid or Manchester City will be kicked out of Champions League

Madrid president defends breakaway league, saying it will 'save football'

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez on Tuesday has hit back at threats by Uefa that clubs will be thrown out of the Champions League for joining a breakaway European Super League.

Monday's bombshell announcement by 12 of Europe's most powerful clubs that they planned to launch a new competition to rival Uefa's lucrative European Cup was met by fierce criticism from leagues, players, supporters and even political leaders.

Six Premier League teams - Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur - joined forces with Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and Italian trio Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan said they intended to launch the breakaway league in August or "as soon as is practicable".

Financed by US bank JP Morgan, each of the clubs from England, Italy and Spain will receive a "welcome bonus" of up to €300 million.

The new league hopes to persuade three more founding members to join and for five other clubs to be invited annually, though Perez claimed Paris Saint-Germain have not been invited.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said Monday European football's governing body was working to ban breakaway clubs and their players from its competitions "as soon as possible", and urged domestic leagues to follow suit.

Perez's Madrid as well as Chelsea and City are through to this year's Champions League last four, while two other English clubs, Arsenal and Manchester United, are in the last four of the second-tier Europa League.

"They are the threats of someone who confuses monopoly with property," Perez, who has been named ESL president, said on television programme El Chiringuito.

"Madrid will not be kicked out of the Champions League, definitely not. Nor City, nor anyone else."

He added: "It's not going to happen. I don't want to get into the legal reasons but it's not going to happen. It's impossible."

European football's governing body also said players could be stopped from featuring for their countries too.

"Any player can be totally calm because that is not going to happen," 74-year-old Perez said. "Uefa is a monopoly and it also has to be transparent. Uefa does not have a good image in its history. It has to be open to dialogue and not threatening," he added.

Earlier Perez claimed the move had been made to save the sport.

"Football has to keep changing and adapting to the times. Football is losing interest. Something must be done," Perez said. "Football is the only sport that is global. Television has to change to adapt to the times. We have to think about why 16-24 year-olds are no longer interested in football.

"There are poor quality matches and there are other platforms for entertainment. Football has to change.

"A group of clubs from some European countries want to do something to make this sport more attractive worldwide," Perez added.

Perez claimed the new league would also help smaller clubs. "They have said it is a league for the rich and it's not true. It's a league to save football," he said.

"The money goes to everyone, it is a pyramid. If those above have money, it trickles down.

"There are 15 teams that generate value and five will enter on sporting merit. It is not closed. It is open. We have never thought of a closed league."

Updated: April 20, 2021 10:39 AM


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