On Tuesday, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez responded to UEFA's warnings that clubs will be kicked out of the Champions League if they joined a breakaway European Super League.
Leagues, players, fans, and even political leaders were outraged when 12 of Europe's most influential clubs announced on Monday that they intended to launch a new competition to compete with UEFA's lucrative European Cup.
🚨 Official statement.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 18, 2021
12 football clubs today jointly announced an agreement competition, the Super League.
AC Milan, Arsenal , Atlético, Chelsea, Barcelona, Internazionale, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham have all joined.
Six Premier League clubs - Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur - have teamed up with Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid, as well as Italian trio Juventus, Inter Milan, and AC Milan, to form the breakaway league in August or "as soon as possible."
Each of the clubs from England, Italy, and Spain will earn a "welcome bonus" of up to €300 million, courtesy of US bank JP Morgan.
The new league hopes to attract three more founding members and five additional clubs next year, though Perez claims that Paris Saint-Germain has not been invited.
President Aleksander Ceferin of UEFA said on Monday that the governing body of European football is working to bar breakaway clubs and their players from its competitions "as soon as possible," and encouraged domestic leagues to follow suit.
Perez's Madrid, as well as Chelsea and City, have advanced to the last four of the Champions League this season, while Arsenal and Manchester United are in the last four of the Europa League.
"They are the threats of someone who confuses monopoly with property," Perez, who has been named ESL president, said on television program El Chiringuito.
"Madrid will not be kicked out of the Champions League, definitely not. Nor City, nor anyone else."
Florentino Perez to El Chiringuito: "Real Madrid and other SuperLeague clubs will NOT be excluded from this 2020/2021 Champions League. It won't happen, the law protects us. This is impossible". 🚨— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 19, 2021
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."
What happens to playing for national teams?
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.
Why create a Super League?
Florentino Perez to El Chiringuito: "The contract of the #SuperLeague is binding. Nobody can leave, we will work all together. All the clubs signed the contracts last Saturday, there's no problem". 🚨— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 19, 2021
"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.
Florentino Perez to El Chiringuito: "Barcelona are going through a difficult economic situation, Laporta immediately understood and accepted like all the great clubs in the world. This #SuperLeague will save the entire world of football". 🚨— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 19, 2021
"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."