COVID-19 impact means 'football reform cannot wait', says Madrid president

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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has called for urgent reforms of football’s structure in response to financial challenges caused by COVID-19.

Perez revealed the Spanish giants had suffered a 13 per cent loss of revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and insisted Real Madrid would be one of the driving forces in remodelling the football landscape.

UEFA had previously held discussions about making sweeping changes to the Champions League format starting from the 2024-25 season, with Europe's elite clubs said to be pushing for fewer matches and additional revenue.

Those talks did not progress after push back from clubs and national leagues opposing a European Super League, but Madrid chief Perez believes fans will suffer if football does not find a new direction quickly.

"Nothing will be like it was before," Perez told Real Madrid's club members during their online annual general assembly.

"The pandemic obliges us to make football more competitive. We must innovate and look for formulas to ensure football remains attractive."

He added: "Everyone is arguing for a remodelling of world football.

"There is a saturation [of games] and our fans, who are the most important thing we have, suffer. 

"Football reform cannot wait. The biggest clubs in Europe have millions of fans spread across the world. We have the responsibility to fight for this change."

Plans for a lucrative breakaway competition involving Europe’s highest-profile clubs were revived in October, according to media reports, with banking powerhouse JP Morgan said to be involved in the talks.

UEFA firmly opposed the project, but Perez says the impact of COVID-19 should only hasten football's response to reforming its schedule.

"The reality is that all big football clubs are suffering this significant financial blow and we're not immune to it either," he said.

Source Omnisport