JPMorgan Chase on Friday apologized for its role in funding a billion-dollar breakaway European football league, admitting in a statement that it “misjudged” how the project would be viewed by fans.
JPMorgan Chase had pledged around $ 4 billion to subscribe to the new league, but the American investment bank didn’t spend it or lose money: the league collapsed just 48 hours after it was announced after more than half of its 12 founding clubs switched their thoughts and announced that they would not attend.
Like the 12 clubs in the breakaway group, which included European giants such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool, Juventus and AC Milan, JPMorgan has been heavily criticized by fans and others only for their participation in the plan.
The Super League, conceived as a league of 20 teams and 15 permanent members, would have slashed the revenues of dozens of national leagues, jeopardized the finances and values of the hundreds of European clubs that were left out, and the structures that were left out. have underpinned European football for a century – and passed billions on to some elite teams in the process.
In a company statement, rare for its regrets and self-criticism, JPMorgan admitted it had been a mistake to fund the proposal without considering its impact on others.
“We have clearly misjudged how this deal will be seen by the wider football community and how it could affect them in the future,” said a company spokesman. “We will learn from it.”
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the bank’s co-president Daniel E. Pinto also tried to distance JPMorgan from the setback that is still causing turmoil in the clubs.
“We arranged a loan for a customer,” said Pinto. “It is not our job to decide how football works best in Europe and the UK.”
“We expected this to be emotional, we expected people to have different opinions,” added Pinto, “and that’s exactly what happens.”
Top debt finance executives had been involved with the group for months, trying to create the equivalent of a mortgage that would sign the start of the new contest that organizers were looking to pay off with one of the richest television deals in sports history.
Instead, the majority of the Super League’s members withdrew within 48 hours of its inception.
JPMorgan wasn’t the only powerful institution to apologize for its involvement. The majority of English teams, some of the most popular in world football, made humble statements for their decision to join the failed project. But it was the sight of billionaire Liverpool owner John W. Henry, a rare speaker who took personal responsibility for the fiasco that brought home how disastrous the company had been.
“I am sorry and I am solely responsible for the unnecessary negativity that has been generated in the past few days. I won’t forget that, ”said Henry in a video posted on the Liverpool website. In it he apologized not only to the fans of the club, but also to the players of the team, the manager of the club, Jürgen Klopp, and other executives of the team who were not consulted about the club’s decision.
Joel Glazer, the co-chair of the Manchester United billionaire, also made rare public comments. “Although the wounds are raw and I understand it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally determined to restore the trust of our fans and learn from the message you have conveyed with such conviction,” wrote Glazer in a letter to fans admitted the club had made a mess.
“We got it wrong,” wrote Glazer, “and we want to show that we can fix things.”
No one associated with the project could avoid contamination from criticism, including the bank that funded it. JPMorgan executive director Jamie Dimon has been attacked on social media and in banking circles.
“How on earth did such a seasoned CEO who can connect so well with the real world, how on earth did you get this proposal where it got to?” A former Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O’Neill, told Bloomberg.
The criticism was particularly sharp for Dimon, who in recent years has endeavored to position the bank as a good social and corporate citizen.
JPMorgan was able to pull out of the business without suffering any financial loss, despite a huge loss of reputation, according to an executive familiar with the bank’s role in financing.
This may not apply to the teams that left after signing contracts that tied the 12 founding members to the outlier concept.
The Super League is actually not officially dead. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are still signed and continue their strategy.
One reason they might not have left could be financial. The contracts signed by the 12 founding members contained penalties worth millions of dollars. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, whose rising debts and fears of rising costs primarily drove them into the project, could remain in a position to evade tens of million dollar fines from their former partners for leaving from that.