Super League backer says breakaway competition is on standby

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A soccer supporter takes snapshots of Atletico Madrid hall of fame plates at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. A group of 12 elite English, Spanish and Italian clubs dramatically split European soccer on Sunday by announcing the formation of a largely-closed Super League. The Super League's founding chairman Florentino Perez on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 says the competition is being created to save soccer for everyone and not to make the rich clubs richer. The Real Madrid president says it's "impossible" that players from the participating teams will be banned by UEFA. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID – The Super League is far from dead and its clubs have not given up on the idea of the breakaway competition despite having to shelve the project just a few days after it was announced, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez said on Thursday.

Pérez, who would have been the new league's founding chairman, said the clubs behind the Super League will continue working on a way to make the competition work, even if changes have to be made to its format.

He said the Super League is on “standby” and the group is open to discussing ideas with European soccer's governing body and other entities to help the game amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pérez said he was certain that a “very similar” competition would soon be created.

“We are going to keep working,” Pérez told Spanish radio network SER in an interview after midnight local time. “We are looking for ways of getting this done. It would be a shame not to get it done.”

The Super League was announced on Sunday but essentially folded after the English clubs involved in the project pulled out Tuesday amid escalating backlash from their supporters and warnings from the British government that legislation could be introduced to thwart them.

On Wednesday, Atlético Madrid and the three Italian clubs in the project — Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan — also opted out. That left Real Madrid and Barcelona as the only clubs still officially in the new league.

Pérez said no one was really leaving, though.

“They haven't left,” the Madrid president said. “We are all still together, thinking of ways of making this happen.”