British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the welcomed the decision by six English clubs to withdraw from the planned European Super League, which is now on the verge of collapse. But was there a kernel of truth in what one of the ringleaders of the ESL project said?
The idea of a European Super League seems dead in the water after half of the clubs which originally supported it pulled out following a huge negative reaction in England.
Manchester City were followed by Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in withdrawing their support for the controversial project which would have set up a league from which none of the big clubs could be relegated.
The idea appears to have been based on US leagues like basketball’s NBA and baseball’s MLB – where the same “franchises” battle it out every season – but it went down like a lead balloon with football fans across Europe.
In trying to justify the decision to launch the league Real Madrid’s billionaire owner Florentino Perez said: “Football has to change and adapt.”
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He told the Spanish TV programme El Chiringuito: “We have to analyse why young people, 16-to-24-year-olds, 40 percent of them aren’t interested in football. Why? Because there are a lot of low-quality games, and they have other entertainment platforms.”
Perez added: “It’s a reality. They say the games are too long. We have to change something if we want football to stay alive. Sometimes we don’t understand our children or grandchildren.”