Despite the withdrawal of most of the clubs that signed up to the European Super League (ESL), Florentino Perez says the project is only on standby.
The Real Madrid President, who also doubles as the chairman of the proposed league, has insisted that the idea of the breakaway league was to ‘save football.’
12 major European teams came together to form the Super League project mainly for the purpose of recouping the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But the idea was greeted with heavy criticism following the announcement last Sunday, and by Wednesday, nine out of the 12 teams had announced their withdrawal from the project.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are the only clubs yet to denounce the Super League, as all six English clubs as well as Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid have all backed out.
Perez, speaking on the El Larguero show on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, said “You cannot get out of the contract like this – they are binding contracts.”
“We’re going to continue working. The project is on standby,” he added.
He went on to accuse UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and various countries’ footballing authorities of “aggression” and “threats” towards the ESL.
“Maybe we didn’t explain it well, but they also didn’t give us an opportunity to explain it,” said the 74-year-old.
“I’ve been in football for 20 years and I’ve never seen threats like this. It was like we killed someone. It was like we killed football. But we were trying to work out how to save football.
“The Champions League format is old and only interesting from the quarter-finals onwards.
“This format clearly doesn’t work, so we thought that we could have a format where the most important teams in Europe play against each other from the very beginning of the season.
“We worked out the numbers and felt we could make much more money, more money for all the other teams too,” he added.
It is not yet clear what would become of the ESL, but UEFA had on Monday announced a revamped 36-team Champions League format which is billed to begin in 2024.