By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - A breakaway European Super League would be less valuable as a broadcast product than the current combination of domestic competitions and the Champions League, the head of British broadcaster BT Sport said on Wednesday.
UEFA is currently reforming the format and structure of the Champions League for the period from 2024, while a group of Europe's biggest clubs have threatened to break away and form their own "Super League" outside of UEFA's control.
"Of course a European Super League would be extremely appealing to broadcasters but it wouldn't be worth as much as the existing leagues and Champions League are at the moment," Simon Green, head of BT Sport told the Financial Times' Business of Football summit.
"It would be undoing the value that already exists and reinventing something that is worth less.
"It wouldn't be as appealing to consumers. You wouldn't have the kind of contests you get in the Premier League and the Champions League if you undid the strength of the leagues as they exist now," he added.
BT Sport currently hold the rights for UK broadcasts of UEFA's Champions League as well as sharing live Premier League rights with Sky Sports and Amazon.
"As far as the relationship between broadcasters and football is concerned, maintaining what exists now, I believe, is the very best strategy that football should adopt rather than undoing what it has and reinventing something called a Super League which theoretically will do better - it won't," Green said.
The driver of the breakaway plan, according to several sources, has been Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, while clubs including Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been linked with it in the media.
A document produced for the breakaway group outlines a plan for a 20-team league made up of 15 permanent members and five who would qualify for the competition annually. The teams would play in two groups of 10 and then compete in a playoff system to determine the winner.
The plan, unlike some previous reported attempts, is being taken seriously by football's authorities.
Last month FIFA, European confederation UEFA and the five other international confederations issued a statement condemning the proposal. The European Leagues organisation, which represents the main domestic competitions, has also condemned the plan on the grounds that it would damage domestic competitions.
Green said he expects rights fees for big leagues to drop in the coming rounds of auctions.
"I do see a realignment and a correction and perhaps a period of rights deflation and you can already see it," he said.
(Additional reporting by Keith Weir in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson)