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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez — chairman of the proposed breakaway European Super League — has suggested football matches should be shortened to win back the interest of new generations of fans.

Perez, recently re-elected unopposed at Madrid for another four years, became the first senior figure involved in the Super League project to speak out in a wide-ranging, late-night interview on Spanish television on Monday.

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The 74-year-old claimed the plans are meant “to save football in general” from waning interest and reduced revenues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Football has to change and adapt,” he told El Chiringuito during the 90-minute interview. “We have to analyse why young people, 16-to-24-year-olds, 40% of them aren’t interested in football. Why? Because there are a lot of low-quality games, and they have other entertainment platforms.

“It’s a reality. They say the games are too long. We have to change something if we want football to stay alive. Sometimes we don’t understand our children or grandchildren.

“They’re different generations, the world changes. If young people don’t watch an entire game, it’s because it isn’t interesting enough, or we’ll have to shorten the games … There are matches that even I can’t watch all of them, to be honest.”

The Super League proposals have met fierce criticism from football’s governing bodies, including UEFA and La Liga — which called it a “selfish, egotistical proposal designed to further enrich the already super rich” — as well as fans groups and other top clubs that aren’t on board.

Perez also said change was needed in international football, arguing that “we have too many games, there are international tournaments that people don’t even know the names of” and argued that the European Super League could co-exist with a secondary European competition run by UEFA.

He said the European Super League would be implemented “as soon as possible” and wouldn’t rule out an attempt to introduce it in time for next season.

Speaking ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to Cadiz in La Liga on Wednesday, coach Zinedine Zidane refused to be drawn on plans for a breakaway, or the rumours his side could be removed from the Champions League semifinals.

“We don’t even talk about it. We only talk about one thing, the game tomorrow,” Zidane said.

“I’m here to talk about the game tomorrow, the league, the Champions League. The rest isn’t my job. I won’t give you my opinion. I understand, you can say I don’t say what I think and don’t say anything. Why? Because my job, what I’m doing, that’s what I enjoy. The rest … what good does it do?”



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