European game is not sustainable, says Super League backer

Flags with UEFA logo are seen in Nyon
Flags with UEFA logo are seen outside of the Union of European Football Associations headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, October 5, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

MUNICH, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Bernd Reichart, CEO of the company backing a proposed Super League, said on Wednesday that European football is losing its leading role in world sport and that clubs are not maximising their potential under the current system.

Reichart highlighted a report published in May by data and analytics platform Football Benchmark, which said only five of Europe's most valuable 32 clubs recorded a profit in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were among 12 clubs to announce a breakaway Super League in April, 2021 but after a hostile reaction from across the game and from fans and governments alike the move promptly collapsed.

All six English clubs plus Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid withdrew but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have continued to push the idea.

"European soccer is losing its leading role in world sports, and clubs are lagging behind in terms of their opportunities," Reichart, who was announced as A22 Sports Management CEO on Tuesday, told Reuters.

"The system has become quite unstable, it isn't self-sustainable anymore. I think the clubs should be able to decide their fate, as they also bear all the (financial) risk. Most clubs agree that it can't go on like that."

One aspect of the initial Super League proposition which angered fans was that it was a closed competition for Europe's elite clubs, but Reichart said that was no longer the case.

"We don't want to leave anyone behind. In our new approach there will also be promotion and relegation," Reichart said.

U.S. investment bank JP Morgan had been set to finance the Super League in 2021 but Reichart said it will now be "starting from scratch".

Reichart has also written to UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin seeking a meeting to discuss issues related to the Super League, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

UEFA said it will consider the request for a meeting.

"We can confirm the reception of a letter from A22 addressed to the UEFA President," UEFA said in a statement to Reuters.

"UEFA is always open to constructive dialogue and, therefore, will consider the request for a meeting in due course."

Reporting by Alexander Hubner in Munich, writing by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ed Osmond

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