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Soccer-Super League would have less value than status quo -BT Sport head

Wed 17th February, 2021 12:45pm
By Simon Evans
    MANCHESTER, England, Feb 17 (Reuters) - A breakaway European
Super League would be less valuable as a broadcast product than
the current combination of domestic competitions and the
Champions League, the head of British broadcaster BT Sport said
on Wednesday.
    UEFA is currently reforming the format and structure of the
Champions League for the period from 2024, while a group of
Europe's biggest clubs have threatened to break away and form
their own "Super League" outside of UEFA's control.
    "Of course a European Super League would be extremely
appealing to broadcasters but it wouldn't be worth as much as
the existing leagues and Champions League are at the moment,"
Simon Green, head of BT Sport told the Financial Times' Business
of Football summit.
    "It would be undoing the value that already exists and
reinventing something that is worth less.
    "It wouldn't be as appealing to consumers. You wouldn't have
the kind of contests you get in the Premier League and the
Champions League if you undid the strength of the leagues as
they exist now," he added.
    BT Sport currently hold the rights for UK broadcasts of
UEFA's Champions League as well as sharing live Premier League
rights with Sky Sports and Amazon.
    "As far as the relationship between broadcasters and
football is concerned, maintaining what exists now, I believe,
is the very best strategy that football should adopt rather than
undoing what it has and reinventing something called a Super
League which theoretically will do better - it won't," Green
said.
    The driver of the breakaway plan, according to several
sources, has been Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, while
clubs including Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United have
all been linked with it in the media.
    A document produced for the breakaway group outlines a plan
for a 20-team league made up of 15 permanent members and five
who would qualify for the competition annually. The teams would
play in two groups of 10 and then compete in a playoff system to
determine the winner.
    The plan, unlike some previous reported attempts, is being
taken seriously by football's authorities.
    Last month FIFA, European confederation UEFA and the five
other international confederations issued a statement condemning
the proposal. The European Leagues organisation, which
represents the main domestic competitions, has also condemned
the plan on the grounds that it would damage domestic
competitions.
    Green said he expects rights fees for big leagues to drop in
the coming rounds of auctions.
    "I  do see a realignment and a correction and perhaps a
period of rights deflation and you can already see it," he said.

 (Additional reporting by Keith Weir in London; Editing by Hugh
Lawson)
 ((simon.evans@thomsonreuters.com;))
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