Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has said in an interview that the proposed Super League is designed to "save football", adding that he hopes to start the controversial competition "as soon as possible".
There has been worldwide condemnation of plans announced on Sunday night by 12 of Europe's biggest clubs to break free from European competitions governed by UEFA in favour of a closed-doors, elitest competition - one that guarantees each founding member a place every season, with no fear or relegation or demotion.
The Premier League's 'big six' are all signed up to the project, as are Juventus, Inter and Milan from Serie A. La Liga trio Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid make the initial numbers, with Los Blancos president Perez the driving force behind what many feel to be the ultimate betrayal to football.
Just 24 hours had passed since a blanket announcement was posted on each club's official website before Perez opted to break his silence to El Chiringuito TV. In an exclusive interview, he revealed the motives behind the formation of the Super League, detailed why now is the "right time" to engineer change, spoke of the crippling effect of the global coronavirus pandemic on Real Madrid's finances and outlined why the proposal is designed to "save football".
Perez on financial difficulties
"The biggest clubs in England, Italy and Spain had to find a solution to the really terrible situation they were in. The European Club Association says they've lost five billion euros. At Real Madrid we had a budget of 800m and we finished with 700m. This year instead of 900m, let's see if we get 600m. In two seasons Real Madrid have lost 400m.
"When you have no income other than TV money, the best way to increase revenue is to have more attractive games that fans from all over the world can see. So we came to a conclusion that instead of doing the Champions League we would do a Super League and we would be able to alleviate what was lost.
"It's not a league for the rich, it's a league to save football. If you say that the rich are going to be richer and the poor are poorer and you explain it like this... Tomorrow Laporta will come out and we will explain this competition that wants to save football and save the most modest teams, because soccer will disappear."
Perez on football needing to evolve
"Football must evolve like everything in life. Football has to adapt to the times we live in now. Football is losing interest, TV rights are decreasing. We wanted to do the Super League, the pandemic has given us urgency: now we are all ruined in football.
"The game needs to change to be more attractive globally. Instead of making the Champions League because it lost interest as he had in 1950, change comes and even at the time FIFA and UEFA were against it. But that's how football changed."
Perez on the Super League being 'closed'
"It's not a closed league, we believe in the merits of all teams Football has to evolve, like companies, people, mentalities. Networks have changed the way they behave and football has to change and adapt to the times we live in.
"Football was losing the interest of people, you can see that audiences are decreasing and rights [money] is decreasing, so something had to be done. Football is global and these 12 teams and some more have fans all over the world."
Perez on PSG & Bayern not being involved
"We haven't invited PSG for the moment, nor the two German teams [Bayern and Dortmund]. We could have 15 teams with five alternating. I don't know why someone said that we are going to end the [domestic] leagues. And no one with common sense wants to end the leagues.
"What makes money is the 15 fixed teams and will play each other every week.
"The 15 founding clubs are the ones that matter the most in terms of entertainment. Others likes of Napoli, Roma will have a chance to be in the competition one year or another and then let's see."
Perez on a possible Super League start date
"We will try to start as soon as possible. We are going to talk to UEFA and FIFA, I don't know why they have to get angry. UEFA worked in another format that, firstly, I didn't understand it and secondly, it doesn't produce the necessary income to save football.
"When I say save football I mean to save everyone, so that for the next 20 years at least we can live in peace. The situation is very dramatic. We believe this format can save football, like the European Cup saved football in the 50s."
Perez on Champions League expulsion, player bans & Aleksander Ceferin's stinging Andrea Agnelli criticism
"The players should remain calm [after threats from UEFA about being able to play in any UEFA sanctioned competition] because the threats won't happen. But those who run the monopolies at UEFA have to be transparent. UEFA doesn't have a good image.
"They are not going to kick us, Manchester City or Chelsea out of the Champions League, we're completely safe.
"One thing the UEFA president cannot do is throw insults, as he did against Agnelli. I find it reprehensible. UEFA has to change, we don't want a president who insults people, we want transparency."