Real Madrid president Florentino Perez hints at shorter matches in Super League

Karl Matchett
·3-min read
<p>Perez was named chairman of the Super League</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Perez was named chairman of the Super League

(AFP via Getty Images)

Florentino Perez has attempted to present some possibilities and reasoning behind the 12 clubs’ plans for a European Super League, claiming a disengagement from younger audiences which must be addressed.

The Real Madrid president is largely viewed as the ringleader and driving force behind the proposal, which has caused widespread anger throughout the football world. Perez has also been named as the chairman of the newly created organisation.

Speaking to El Chiringuito de Jugones on Spanish TV, he justified the move to lock in his and up to 14 other clubs’ participation in the money-spinning breakaway competition as being a vital route back to financial stability after the pandemic-enforced losses of the past year.

More than just the new income stream, however, the Real president said changes could be incorporated to capture a new audience who had different requirements to the more traditional fans - including lowering the usual 90-minute span of a game.

“When you don’t have any income other than from television, you have to find a solution to make more attractive matches that fans all over the world can watch with all of the big clubs,” said Perez.

“Audiences are decreasing and rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt.

“Young people are no longer interested in football. They have other platforms on which to distract themselves.

“If young people say football matches are too long, maybe it’s because that match isn’t too interesting or maybe we have to shorten the length of matches.

“There could be a second division of Super League, for example.”

For all the talk on it being for the betterment of those watching - however half-heartedly - the main theme of the talk continued to rear its head: finances.

Perez noted that Real Madrid have lost €400 million (£345m) due to the lack of fans in the ground and other cutbacks during the pandemic, though Los Blancos and LaLiga rivals Barcelona were reported by Deloitte to still be the two clubs who have earned most revenue among Europe’s biggest sides in 2020.

“The Super League will save the clubs financially. Football must evolve like everything in life. Football has to adapt to the times we live in now,” Perez continued.

“Football is losing interest, TV rights are decreasing. We wanted to do the Super League, the pandemic has given us urgency: now we are all ruined in football.

“We could get back some of the money we lost because of the pandemic. We have to raise more money organising more competitive games.”

Perez gave scant few definite details of the plans, but suggested starting this year would be optimal, otherwise a year’s delay could prove necessary if no agreement was reached with Uefa.

Europe’s governing body has asked the six Premier League sides involved to recant and admit the error of their ways, while Fifa president Gianni Infantino said his organisation are against the Super League proposals and warned those involved that they would stand alone if they persisted with their plans.

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