Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona has insisted that the European Super League would not be a “positive thing in the long-term for the world of football”. The 34-year-old Spanish center-back said if he was the new president of Barcelona, Joan Laporta, he would have withdrawn the club from the controversial league.
FC Barcelona is one of the founding clubs behind the failed European Super League. The former president of the club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, dragged the club into the Super League before he was booted out of the club.
In his absence, FC Barcelona continued with the process and the club alongside other pioneering clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool, and Manchester United, were able to convince other 7 clubs – Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, and Tottenham Hotspur to join them to form the Super League.
On Sunday, April 18, the clubs confirmed that they have signed up for the league. Immediately they made the announcement, football stakeholders including football fans began to mount pressure on the clubs to withdraw from the plan.
All the clubs withdrew from the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday except FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus. However, Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli declared that the proposed league has failed since most of the clubs have withdrawn from it.
So far, only FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have not officially withdrawn from the planned league. Hence, Gerard Pique who tweeted against the Super League immediately it was announced, told Movistar that the proposed league tends to destroy domestic leagues.
Football belongs to the fans. Today more than ever.— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) April 20, 2021
Though he admitted that the clubs signed up for the league because of the financial hardship the clubs are facing due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Gerard Pique argued that the proposed league might prevent the growth of smaller clubs.
He said: “If I put my president’s hat on, which is what Laporta has to do, you’re walking into an inherited situation and a very bad situation financially. He will make the best decision for the club.
“At the moment, Barcelona are one of the founders of the Super League. I think the club’s financial situation plays a very important part in this decision.
“If I look at it from a player’s point of view, from a global point of view, I don’t think it’s a positive thing in the long-term for the world of football. It’s the fact that the big brands are coming together to compete, although there are five invited clubs [each season].
“They’re saying that they’ll stay in the [domestic] leagues and keep competing. When the Champions League is giving out 3.5 billion euros and they’re saying that the Super League will triple that. I’m not doing the maths.
“If you speak to the TV rights experts, they’re saying that the market won’t be there. To start with, they’re saying that the [domestic] leagues will stay. They’ll end up leaving as the years go by and, behind them, there will be investment funds, banking societies…
“When they start making losses, they’ll move their games to the weekends. And we won’t know why. We’ll find ourselves playing Wednesdays and Saturdays. That’s my vision. They’ll end up getting the money that the [domestic] leagues make. And then the numbers will come out.
“You’re destroying the whole system to get there. Do we want this for football? Do we want Sevilla, Valencia, Everton, Leicester, Napoli… to disappear? That’s where I see it going. If we want that, go ahead, but we have to know it.
“It’s an American model. They have these things and they’re good things. What is clear is that the model has to change. We have to strike a balance where the big clubs can coexist with the not-so-big clubs.
“[Clubs in] LaLiga and UEFA should have more weight than a team from the lower leagues. More votes, more income. But breaking away from everything, breaking the ecosystem… you’re taking away people’s jobs.
“What’s happening is a reflection of society. It’s pure and hard capitalism. It’s not a perfect model. We have to find a more balanced model.”