Barcelona maintains support of Super League despite backlash
The ill-fated Super League has enraged fans and troubled authorities while making allies of a pair of soccer’s fiercest nemeses.
After 10 of the 12 clubs involved in the creation of the breakaway competition quickly dropped out under an escalating backlash, Barcelona president Joan Laporta emerged on Thursday as the sole supporter of the plan hatched by Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Pérez.
“It is absolutely necessary,” Laporta said on Catalan public television in his first public comments on the project. “The biggest clubs create the most financial resources and we must have our say in deciding how the earnings are shared.”
Even so, his own club issued a statement hours after he spoke that was aimed at calming tensions and promised to listen to the plan’s critics.
The six English clubs involved in the competition pulled out Tuesday amid escalating complaints from their supporters and warnings from the British government. A day later, Spanish club Atlético Madrid and the three Italian teams in the project — Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan — also opted out.
Despite being left nearly alone, Pérez — the competition’s supposed first chairman — said late Wednesday that the idea was not dead, but rather on standby.
Both Juventus and AC Milan also left open the possibility of joining a Super League at a later date.
Laporta, who previously served as Barcelona president from 2003-10, was re-elected to the post last month. While campaigning, Laporta said he was not in favor of the Super League, but his position changed after taking charge of the troubled club that faces more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in debt.
The club’s finances have been hard hit by the pandemic, which has compounded problems in a budget that was already loaded by the highest payroll in soccer last season. Laporta’s financial challenges include trying to convince Lionel Messi to sign a new contract when his expires this year…..read more
Source: AP News