Real Madrid President, Florentino Perez, has said the European Super League (ESL) was created “to save football”.
The Spaniard’s comments come after 12 leading European clubs on Monday committed to join a new tournament that will begin “as soon as is practicable”.
Real are one of the 12 European clubs who have signed up to the breakaway league and intend to establish a new midweek competition.
Speaking for the first time since the announcement, Perez, who is the Chairman of the ESL, said football needed to evolve.
He insisted that the move had been made because young people are “no longer interested in football” because of “a lot of poor quality games”.
“Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it. We are doing this to save football at this critical moment,” Perez said on Spanish TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones.
“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. Why not? Because there are a lot of poor quality games and they are not interested, they have other platforms on which to distract themselves.”
Perez said that the top teams were losing money largely due to the coronavirus pandemic and that big-name matches would help increase their revenue.
“If we continue with the Champions League there is less and less interest and then it’s over.
“The new format which starts in 2024 is absurd. In 2024, we are all dead.”
He added: “Together we have lost €5billion,” he said of the top clubs’ alleged losses. “In two seasons Madrid have lost €400m.
“When you have no income other than television, you say that the solution is to make more attractive matches that fans from all over the world can see with all the big clubs, and we came to the conclusion that if instead of having a Champions League we have a Super League we would be able to alleviate what we have lost.”
Perez criticised UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, who said players featuring in the competition will be banned from the World Cup and European Championship.
“[The players] can remain absolutely calm because that’s not going to happen. Very calm, that’s not going to happen,” Perez said.
Asked if Real will be kicked out of the competition, Perez added: “No, they won’t be expelled from Champions (League), that’s for sure.
“Real Madrid won’t be, (Manchester) City won’t be, none of them will be expelled, that’s for sure. I’m completely sure of it. Not from Champions (League), not from La Liga, nothing like that.”
He added: “In the ’50s, it was a similar situation. Uefa and Fifa went against the new European Cup, but that competition changed football.”
Real Madrid are joined in the competition, which could start as early as August, by La Liga rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as well as Premier League clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
The founding group of 12 is completed by Italian clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. Another three will be included as guaranteed members and five others will qualify to join them each year.