Barcelona call Super League historic opportunity, wary of making rash decision

·2-min read

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona have justified signing up to the European Super League by saying it was a "historic opportunity" to guarantee football's financial sustainability, adding that they remain committed to the project even as other clubs jump ship.

The Catalans said in a statement on Thursday that the project required further analysis and could be set up in a different format but appeared to rule out joining fellow Spanish side Atletico Madrid and the six English clubs in leaving.

"Given the public reaction that the aforementioned project has generated...there is no question FC Barcelona appreciates a much more in-depth analysis is required into the reasons that have caused this reaction," the statement said.

"Such in-depth analysis needs time and the necessary composure to avoid taking any rash action."

Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur abandoned the project on Tuesday while Atletico joined them on Wednesday. Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan also accepted the plan had failed.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has refused to accept the project is dead, however, while Barca chief Joan Laporta said earlier on Thursday the Super League was a necessity but was open to dialogue with European soccer organisers UEFA.

Barca are in a deep financial crisis despite being the most valuable club in the world and the one with the biggest income. [L1N2MF1X4]

Their statement added that structural reforms were needed "to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football", explaining they agreed to join the Super League "as a matter of immediate urgency".

It also described the breakaway project, which has been fiercely criticised by supporters and political leaders across Europe, as "a competition designed to improve the quality and attractiveness of the product offered to the football fans".

"The decision was made in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members," Barca said.

"As one of the world's top sports club, our intention shall always be to be at the forefront, this being an indispensable part of the club's identity and its sporting, social and institutional spirit."

(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)