Soccer

European Super League: Florentino Perez says matches are too long for today’s youth

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wants you to trust his vision for a new world order in the realm of soccer which not only includes radical changes to the current competitive structures brought on by a European Super League, but could also include changes of a similar degree to the game on the pitch itself. As he hinted in an interview on Spanish television Monday, Perez notes that the games are simply too long.

The quote comes in the context of some hackneyed concern over “the youth” not paying attention to the product he’s trying to sell, the oldest excuse in the book to rip up a well-liked formula. As expected, his claims were connected to why the Super League was actually a good thing and not simply a blatant cash grab.

“Football has to change and adapt,” he said, per ESPN. “We have to analyze why young people, 16-to-24-year-olds, 40% of them aren’t interested in football. Why? Because there are a lot of low-quality games, and they have other entertainment platforms.

“It’s a reality. They say the games are too long. We have to change something if we want football to stay alive. Sometimes we don’t understand our children or grandchildren. They’re different generations, the world changes. If young people don’t watch an entire game, it’s because it isn’t interesting enough, or we’ll have to shorten the games … There are matches that even I can’t watch all of them, to be honest.”

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The comments are consistent with the belief that the sport is purely a business entity that needs saving before it becomes obsolete. In addition to these comments, he argued that there are too many games in general, and that this new league can realistically coexist with the UEFA domestic competitions.

Whether one agrees or not with Perez simply does not matter given the influence he has over the club he chairs, arguably the most recognizable in the world, and the Super League of which he’s the chairman and a driving force. Take, for example, what manager Zinedine Zidane said — or rather what he chose not to say — about the Super League on Wednesday when the topic came up.

“We don’t even talk about it. We only talk about one thing, the game tomorrow,” Zidane said.

“I’m here to talk about the game tomorrow, the league, the Champions League. The rest isn’t my job. I won’t give you my opinion. I understand, you can say I don’t say what I think and don’t say anything. Why? Because my job, what I’m doing, that’s what I enjoy. The rest … what good does it do?”

Similar non answers have been given by other managers asked about the Super League after its creation. If something so wildly unpopular can yield that kind of submission, the question now becomes just how far the people in charge of this stuff will go.



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