Pérez, who was set to become the Super League’s chairman and has been its most vocal (and perhaps only remaining) defender, seemed to blame one of the six English Premier League clubs for getting cold feet and causing a domino effect among the other Super League aspirants.
“There was one of the English clubs who didn’t seem so interested and that spread to the rest,” Pérez said, per the Guardian’s translation. “They signed the contract, but we could already see that they were not convinced. And then the avalanche started, the Premier League ‘heating things up.’ They said, ‘We’re going to pull out for now.’ There was a club that you could tell wasn’t as interested, but they worked with us and signed up.”
Pérez was asked if that club was Manchester City, and while he didn’t specifically say that it was, he didn’t exactly deny it, either. (Manchester United also had signed on to the Super League, leaving his answer below a bit open to interpretation.)
“The one from Manchester saw the campaign saying this will kill the leagues, that it won’t allow [sporting] merit, that it was the end of football. There are people who have privileges and don’t want to lose them, even if it ruins football. When the English called me [on Tuesday], we met to see what we could do. They tried but said, ‘Look, we’re not going to do this.' ”
Pérez denied Wednesday that Italian club Juventus had pulled out of the Super League, even after its chairman, Andrea Agnelli, had said earlier in the day the it no longer was a viable idea after all the defections. Pérez also said Spanish side Barcelona still was “reflecting” on the idea while also claiming that the six English teams “haven’t gone” despite their public announcements that they had withdrawn.
“They haven’t left,” Pérez said. “We are all still together, thinking of ways of making this happen.”
According to the Real Madrid president, the 12 Super League teams signed “a binding agreement” to start the Super League and that “you cannot get out of the contract like this.” But when asked what the penalties would be for leaving the Super League, the BBC said Pérez had no answer.
The Super League idea was met with strenuous opposition from fans and threats of legal action from UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, which said any teams and players that took part in the Super League would be banned from all other competitions. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin also called the Super League’s organizers “snakes.” None of that sat well with Pérez, who said he was “sad and disappointed” at the backlash.
“Maybe we didn't explain it well, but they also didn't give us an opportunity to explain it,” he said.
“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.”
This week, before the Super League’s collapse, Pérez defended the idea and took shots at the UEFA Champions League, which the Super League would have superseded. He said the decades-old European club championship is only “attractive from the quarterfinals” onward, an assertion he repeated Wednesday night while also calling the Champions League format “old.”
But at a news conference Thursday, La Liga President Javier Tebas asked why the Super League teams kept their plans hidden for so long if their idea would be such a boon for the sport.
“If it was good for football, as Pérez has said, they wouldn’t have done it behind our backs,” Tebas said.
Read more on soccer: