TV stations won't break deals to broadcast Super League, says Spain's Mediapro

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Olympique Lyonnais - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - December 13, 2020 Mediapro camera is seen before the match. Picture taken December 13, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

MADRID (Reuters) - Television broadcasters won't break their contracts with UEFA and national leagues to join the breakaway European Super League project, the head of Spanish media company Mediapro told Reuters on Monday.

Jaume Roures, whose company broadcasts matches from Spanish football's top flight La Liga and holds the TV licensing rights of the UEFA Champions League in the country, said he believed the new competition would not succeed.

"International TV broadcasters have contracts (with UEFA) until 2024, nobody is going to break those contracts now. The only thing that the current move does is to create unease," Roures told Reuters in an interview.

"It won't succeed. There is no other way out."

A bitter battle for control of the game and its lucrative revenue began with a letter sent by 12 clubs to UEFA on Sunday in which they said they would take legal steps to protect their interests as they set up the new European Super League.

The rival to UEFA's established elite Champions League competition was condemned by football authorities, politicians and fans.

Roures pushed back against the 12 clubs' statement that having a place guaranteed in the competition every year would help their finances strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They are trying to take the biggest share of the money that is on the market and share it out among 20," Roures said, referring to the Super League's goal of having a 20-team league play each season.

"What is the point of it, to pay the players and the middlemen more? We're not talking about raising the wages of the people who look after the pitch," said Roures, whose firm also manages international broadcasting rights for La Liga.

In the past, breakaway threats have forced compromises between UEFA and the big clubs in the Champions League over the format and revenues.

This is the first time, however, that the wealthiest clubs have gone beyond threats and announced the creation of a new league.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Jesus Aguado, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska, Kirsten Donovan)

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