Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon was frustrated to see 12 elite clubs plotting a European Super League at a time when football needs “solidarity and unity”.
Madrid were among a dozen teams to announce their involvement in a new breakaway competition on Sunday.
The lucrative tournament would be a rival to the Champions League, but the 12 “founding clubs” would compete every year and could not be demoted.
While reigning European champions Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have not yet signed up, which Calderon says is “really important”, this threat to the sport’s structure comes as clubs attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
For this reason, Calderon – the main man at Madrid between 2006 and 2009 – finds the plans particularly painful.
“The first thought that came to my mind when I read the news about this announcement was that perhaps it came at the worst moment in football history,” he told Stats Perform News.
“Many clubs are suffering, are struggling financially because of the pandemic. I think football needs more than ever solidarity and unity to overcome this problem.
“So, I think it’s bad news for football and I hope that common sense comes back to everyone and they manage to sort out this situation in the best way possible.”
COVID-19 has made money particularly tight at Madrid, where they are also renovating the Santiago Bernabeu.
“Maybe this is the money we need to sort out all the problems we are having and we are facing in the next few years,” Calderon suggested.
Official Announcement: Leading European football clubs unveil new Super League.#RealMadrid
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 18, 2021
But UEFA’s threat to deny Super League players the opportunity to represent their countries at international level could yet derail the proposals, according to the ex-Madrid chief.
Calderon said: “If that really happens, if they fulfil their threats, I’m sure the clubs will reconsider going on with the project.
“It’s impossible if UEFA and FIFA ban clubs and players in the way they have [said] in their statements. I find it difficult that they’d go on with the project.”
But that is not the only problem for Calderon, who believes Super League clubs would quickly find their existence tedious playing the same opponents without additional leagues and cup competitions.
“I think they already have the opportunity to see those teams playing against our team,” he said.
“But also in our country, and I think in other countries it’s the same, fans want to travel to other stadiums, they want to win [against] their neighbours. There’s a rivalry always between the clubs from the same country.
“And also there’s something interesting nowadays that any club can win three or four competitions, or at least, compete to win them.
“With the Super League, there’ll only be one champion. The others won’t get a trophy. That’s another thing that I don’t think they’ve taken into account.
“Now Barcelona is out of the Champions League, but they won the [Copa del Rey]. So, if they play in the Super League, they’ll only be able to win one title.
“That’s another interesting thing for fans, for players and for clubs.”