Spain’s LaLiga slams plan for European Super League as ‘secessionist and elitist’

Twelve major soccer clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético, have announced the creation of a new competition, putting UEFA and the Champions League in a tight spot

A recent Champions League game between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
A recent Champions League game between Liverpool and Real Madrid.DAVID KLEIN (Reuters)

Spain’s top-flight soccer league, LaLiga, on Monday expressed its total rejection of the European Super League, the creation of which was announced over the weekend. The breakaway competition, which has raised the ire of fans, players and politicians alike, would involve a midweek competition that would rival UEFA’s Champions League, and involve English teams such as Manchester United and Liverpool, as well as Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid and FC Barcelona from Spain, and AC Milan and from Italy, among others, for a total of 12 clubs.

A statement from LaLiga released on Monday called the competition “secessionist and elitist,” and said that it “attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit.” It added that it was a “selfish plan that is designed to make the richest even richer.”

LaLiga, which is headed by Spanish lawyer Javier Tebas, went on to say that the European Super League would “undermine the attraction of the whole game and would have a profoundly damaging impact on the immediate future of LaLiga, of the clubs that belong to it and the entire soccer ecosystem.”

What’s more, the statement warned that this plan would have an impact on other sports – LaLiga pointed out that it provided them with more than €126 million in funding this season and as such the Super League would put in danger the current system of contributions. “We will use all of the tools at our disposition and we will work with all of the involved parties to defend the integrity and the future of Spanish soccer in the best interests of the game,” it concluded.

Some clubs have also joined the voices of disapproval. The president of Seville’s Real Betis, Ángel Haro, expressed his clear opposition. “We are not in favor of a closed league that limits meritocracy and that, what’s more, will mean a cut to our television income.” He added: “This is not a moment for selfishness but rather of solidarity in the world of soccer.”

Cádiz CF, which will be playing Real Madrid this Wednesday, also voiced its opposition, reproducing in its entirety the statement that had been released earlier by LaLiga. “Today the fans can dream that their club, whatever its size, can reach the highest heights and compete at the top. The proposed concept closes the door to the pinnacle of European soccer, allowing the entrance of just a few to the elite,” the club stated.

Sworn enemy

The battle over the new league was unleashed just hours before UEFA – the Union of European Football Associations, and the governing body of soccer in Europe – was due to present its new model for the Champions League tournament, with more games and more battles between the biggest teams planned. The Super League initiative has been spearheaded by Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Liverpool. The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, is a sworn enemy of the UEFA president Alexander Ceferin. Pérez will be the president of the new league.

According to the statements issued by the clubs involved, they have no intention of leaving their national leagues. The games would be played mid-week, apart from the final, and the competition will get going in mid-August 2022. FIFA, the international governing body of the sport, has announced that it is against the plan, but has announced that it is open to dialogue over its future.

According to sources consulted by EL PAÍS, initially around €3.525 billion would be shared out among the 12 founding clubs, and the three other clubs that will be invited to take part. Six clubs would take home €350 million, four would take €225 million, two would take €112.5 million, and three would take €100 million. The television rights for the competition are estimated to be worth €4 billion of income.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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