Barcelona president Joan Laporta insists that the Super League remains a necessity.
The breakaway league appeared in tatters after eight of its founding members – all six English clubs and Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan – announced they had set in motion the process to withdraw from the project. However, the Catalan club, whose net debt rose to €488 million last year, remain committed to the project with Laporta telling TV3 that, although the club’s members will have the final say on whether to join, there was a clear need for the project.
"We will speak more about it when the time comes but for now we understand there is a need for it, even though our members will have the final say," Laporta told Catalan network TV3 on Thursday.
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Big clubs contribute a lot of resources and it's absolutely necessary that we have our say on the distribution of money (in European football).
However, the 58-year-old added that he was open to having dialogue with UEFA, while also stating that the aims of the project were ultimately altruistic.
"It must be an attractive competition based on sporting merits. We also will defend national leagues and we're open to having an open dialogue with UEFA," he said.
We always want to improve football and have the necessary revenues to ensure football remains a spectacle. If the big clubs don't continue to have large revenues then football will suffer.
The club would later on Thursday release a statement broadly mirroring their president’s comments, stating it “would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members” and that "there is a need for structural reforms to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football".
Their statement added that the club “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.”
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BARCELONA’S STATEMENT IN FULL
1. FC Barcelona shares the view of most major European football clubs, and even more so given the current socio-economic climate, that there is a need for structural reforms to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football by improving the product that is offered to fans around the world and by consolidating and even increasing the fan base on which this sport is sustained, which is its mainstay and greatest strength.
In this context, the FC Barcelona Board of Directors 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 and, at the same time, and as one of FC Barcelona's most inalienable principles, seek new formulas for solidarity with the football family as a whole.
The decision was made in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members. As one of the world's top sports club, our intention shall always be to be at the forefront, this being an indispensable part of the club's identity and its sporting, social and institutional spirit.
In whatever case, FC Barcelona, as a club that always has been and always shall be owned by each and every one of its members, expressly reserved the right to submit such an important decision to the final approval of its competent social bodies following careful and very necessary study of the proposal.
2. 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.
We feel it is equally important to highlight the objective fact that a Court of Justice has already granted urgent legal protection as requested, thus confirming right of the initiative on the part of the founding clubs of the Super League project. In this regard, FC Barcelona considers that it would be improper for the necessary process of reflection and debate to be established under criteria of unjustified pressure and intimidation.
Despite being perfectly aware of the importance and interest raised by this matter, as well as the need to always act with the utmost transparency, FC Barcelona shall act at all times with due prudence and asks for the utmost understanding, respect and most of all patience among FC Barcelona supporters and public opinion in general.
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