Barcelona Defends Super League and Cites Urgent Need for Reform

Football Club Barcelona, the world’s highest grossing soccer team, became the first member of the failed European Super League to publicly defend the plans after they collapsed.

Barcelona’s board “accepted, as a matter of immediate urgency, the offer to form part, as the founding member, of the Super League, a competition designed to improve the quality and attractiveness of the product offered to the football fans,” the club said in a statement Thursday. European soccer needs to reform given the “current socio-economic situation,” it said.

Barcelona and arch-rival Real Madrid are the only teams of the original 12 yet to announce the end of their involvement in the Super League. Plans for the breakaway competition started to unravel on April 20, when the English participating clubs began to withdraw amid widespread criticism of the plans from fans, players, other clubs and politicians.

In its statement, Barcelona said that its board understood that it would have been an “historical error” not to join but that, given the reaction, it thinks more in-depth analysis is needed.

Although Barcelona managed to retain its ranking as the team with the world’s highest revenue in 2020, it also has one of the sport’s biggest debt loads. It elected a new chairman, Joan Laporta, in March.

Unlike the other 10 teams that joined the league, Real Madrid and Barcelona aren’t private entities owned by deep-pocketed tycoons. Instead, both teams are owned by their members, which limits their ability to raise cash through direct capital injections.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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