JPMorgan Apologizes for Role in Soccer Super League
By Simon Clark and Joshua Robinson
JPMorgan Chase & Co. made a rare public apology, saying its
role providing the financial backing for a new European soccer
league was a misjudgment.
The breakaway Super League aimed to reshape the European soccer
landscape but collapsed this week as six of the proposed circuit's
12 elite clubs pulled out following ferocious outcry from fans,
rival clubs, players, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince
William, the president of England's Football Association.
JPMorgan pledged around $4 billion of financing to get the new
Super League off the ground. It worked with the 12 clubs, including
Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus, as well as a
Madrid-based firm called Key Capital Partners, which has a
long-running relationship with Real Madrid President Florentino
Perez's international construction company.
"We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider
football community and how it might impact them in the future," a
spokesman for the bank said. "We will learn from this."
The widespread criticism of the elite sports project that
JPMorgan backed jars with the stated goal of Jamie Dimon, the
bank's chief executive, to work closely with the communities where
it operates. Mr. Dimon wrote to shareholders earlier this month
that "businesses must earn the trust of their customers and
communities by acting ethically and morally."
JPMorgan and the Super League had planned to issue what they
called "infrastructure loans," secured against future television
rights payments, of around $350 million to each participating club.
The money was to be spent on improving stadiums and training
facilities or plugging holes in their finances caused by the
The failed project to reshape the soccer landscape was one of
the most ambitious in the sport's recent memory. The 12 founding
clubs -- six from England, three from Spain, and three from Italy
-- had aimed to create an alternative to the lucrative
continentwide Champions League tournament, which has been run by
UEFA, soccer's European governing body, since its inception. Teams
currently reach the Champions League each year based on their
performance in their domestic leagues. The 12 founders would have
been permanent members of the new competition that didn't need to
requalify season after season.
The Champions League rakes in more than $3 billion a year in
television and commercial payments and airs in nearly 200 countries
around the world. But the Super League clubs felt that the existing
setup produced too few marquee matchups and not enough guaranteed
The project collapsed on Tuesday evening after the six English
Premier League clubs pulled out.
"As a result of listening to you and the wider football
community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed
Super League," Arsenal, one of the 12 clubs, said in a statement.
"We made a mistake, and we apologize for it."
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 23, 2021 07:09 ET (11:09 GMT)
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