The proposed European Super League (ESL) was “reckless” and will damage sponsorship and broadcast revenues for clubs despite its collapse, says Valencia president Anil Murthy.
Announced on Sunday, the ESL was met by widespread condemnation from within the game, with England’s ‘Big Six’ all withdrawing within hours on Tuesday amid a furious backlash from supporters.
Despite the collapse of the breakaway league, which was due to feature 12 leading clubs across Europe, Murty expects the idea to be revisited in a new form in the future.
“The simple announcement was reckless, careless and with no regard to the rest of European football,” Murthy told Sky Sports News.
Murthy said according to La Liga research, suggested revenue for the non-breakaway Spanish top-flight clubs from TV rights would have been 60 per cent down if the plans had proceeded.
The Singaporean president says the smaller clubs in the top Spanish league depend on broadcast money up to 98 per cent of their total revenue.
“It is absolutely not the right time to do so when everyone is trying to recover from the impact of the pandemic, the financial impact it has had on all football clubs, to once again introduce a new problem,” he added.
Valencia were among several LaLiga clubs to publicly criticise the proposals, but Murthy does not believe sanctions are necessary for three Spanish sides that signed up; Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
“Punishment is not always the answer,” said Murthy, who will attend a meeting of La Liga clubs that did not sign up for the ESL on Thursday.
“They are going to be punished all by themselves because right now I imagine that they are looking silly in front of the whole world.
“To look silly as a big football club is punishment enough. Their own fans went against their project and let’s not forget Barcelona and Real Madrid are members clubs. They are not owned by any particular person.
“I think owners, especially of football clubs… have to realise that football is not a franchise to just make money out of.
“Football for the last 150 years has been a public sport, it is the most popular sport in the world. Everyone is watching, everyone wants to participate; the kid who plays on the street and wants to become a future superstar in football.
“You are just killing this whole tradition. I am not saying that football does not need to change. I am not saying that football will not change in the future but it is not to be changed in such a way that this project is suggesting.”
Murthy says the ESL concept “crossed the red line” and urged for a wider debate around solidarity payments – a maximum of five per cent of the agreed transfer compensation.
“We should all be concerned without a doubt but let’s work together,” he said. “There are always ways to keep European football alive and healthy.
“If the concept of solidarity needs to change then let’s change it but this is an important debate to have.
“The concept of the Super League is not new but the reckless manner in which the cards have been shown told us that these guys are not going to give in so easily.
“We should be talking, preparing on how to respond when this happens again because it will happen.”
Simeone: Something has got to change
Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said he was confident that his club would “would make the right decision” on the European Super League, following the La Liga side’s decision to quit the competition on Wednesday.
Atletico fans had been expected to stage a protest before the home match against Huesca on Thursday night.
Simeone believes there will be change enacted in European football in order to achieve a compromise between the continent’s top clubs, supporters and football governing bodies regarding future competitions.
“I knew the club would make the right decision and that’s what happened,” said Simeone.
“Something’s going to change, I’m so sure about that … Every time there are movements like this, the sides should get closer at some point and obviously find what’s good for everyone.
“Football belongs to everyone. To the people. And we are the people too. We were fans before we were players or coaches. It belongs to all of us.”
Koeman: UEFA are not listening
Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has called for the club’s president Joan Laporta to address the media, regarding the club’s stance on the European Super League.
The Catalonia giants and Real Madrid are the only clubs that have yet to announce their withdrawal from the proposed breakaway league, with the other ten teams pulling out on Tuesday evening and Wednesday.
Koeman also took aim at UEFA, saying that European football’s governing body is: “not listening to the managers, not listening to the players about the number of games,” and added: “the most important (factor) for them is the money”.
He said: “I talked to the president [Joan Laporta] yesterday about this issue. He explained to me the position of the club, but there has been so much noise since yesterday that it is better not to opine about it right now, because many things can happen.
“Nobody knows what will happen. We have teams that said they were in, but now they are saying they want out. So I think we must wait. But in the end, all I want is the best for this club.
“I agree [with] what Pep [Guardiola] said about the number of games. It’s unbelievable what the players need to play in the last few years in all of the competitions.
“Everybody is talking about Super League or Champions League or a different way of playing in Europe.
“But… and UEFA is talking a lot, but UEFA is not doing and not listening to the football people, not listening to the managers, not listening to the players about the number of games.
“No, the most important [factor] for them is the money.
“My work is to have the team ready for our next game. But it is normal that you’re asking me about this issue.
“Right now there is so much noise because of the reaction from the people regarding this. So we must wait until the end to see how this settles. But I am not surprised.
“We want the best for our club. And if somebody has to talk about this it isn’t me. It’s clearly the president.”