Barcelona Release Statement on Super League amid Backlash, Exit of English Clubs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2021

FC Barcelona players pose for photographers prior the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Board reads in Spanish:
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

FC Barcelona issued a statement Thursday addressing the rapid rise and equally rapid disintegration of the Super League.

Barca said its board of directors signed on as a founding member of the competition "in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project."

The club added that it hasn't stopped pursuing an alternative to the Champions League because of the "need for structural reforms to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football":

"Given the public reaction that the aforementioned project has generated in many and various spheres, there is no question that FC Barcelona appreciates that a much more in-depth analysis is required into the reasons that have caused this reaction in order to reconsider, if necessary, and to the required extent, the proposal as originally formulated and resolve all those issues, always for the good of the general interest of the football world. Such in-depth analysis needs time and the necessary composure to avoid taking any rash action."

On Sunday, the Super League announced its 12 founding members were seeking to form a new continental competition. Barcelona was one of three Spanish sides along with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

By Tuesday, the house of cards had already tumbled down after all six members from the Premier League backed out.

The notion of a general "super league" has been thrown around for more than a decade. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in 2009 that a new European tournament could arrive within 10 years, and he wasn't too far off.

However, the New York Times' Tariq Panja and Rory Smith reported how those behind the Super League failed to gauge the inevitably negative reaction to Sunday's announcement. One executive went so far as to say the Super League, which was unveiled at 11 p.m. in London "was dead in the water by 11:10."

The lure of riches far exceeding what clubs could earn from the UEFA Champions League was a driving force behind the Super League, and the windfall would not have come at a better time for Barcelona.

Reduced revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated significant financial issues within the club. Officials said in October that Barca had €97 million in losses for the 2019-20 season, with its overall debt reaching €488 million.

Andy Mitten @AndyMitten

Barça want in, because they need a way out of the mess they've got themselves into with profligate spending. I also spoke to a couple of socios who go to their games - they also want in. "We build a team to play the best, not Eibar."

Robin Bairner @RBairner

Reminder that Messi's salary accounts for 11% of Barcelona's revenue alone! The sale of mismanagement at Barca is staggering.

Although the Super League as it was structured Sunday appears to be gone, the concept could resurface under a different guise.

And because a new league would offer Barcelona a straightforward way to address the calamity for which club officials are responsible, it should come as no surprise the Spanish giants aren't closing the door on it for good.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.