Amazon has said it “understands and shares the concerns raised by football fans” in regards to the proposed — and hugely controversial — European Super League.
In a statement released Tuesday, Amazon Prime Video, which had previously refused to comment on the new league, made crystal clear it’s not involved in the venture, which has the sporting world up in arms. “We believe part of the drama and beauty of European football comes from the ability of any club to achieve success through their performances on the pitch,” said the company.
“We have not been involved in any discussions for this proposed Super League. We are proud to offer our Prime members the football which matters most to them and to present the action in the most innovative ways, including UEFA Champions League football in Germany and Italy and Premier League football in the U.K.”
Amazon Prime Video statement on the proposed Super League: pic.twitter.com/FCHc94yDns
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) April 20, 2021
Amazon has been aggressive in snapping up soccer rights for the platform, and recently experimented by taking rights to a batch of Premier League games that aired live on the service in December. The service also shares rights for the 2022 World Cup with Sky in Italy, which is a key market. The creation of a new Super League, which would guarantee placement for a set group of clubs, would undermine both the Premier and Champions leagues, which are more meritocratic.
Plans for the breakaway European Super League were unveiled on Sunday by a handful of Europe’s biggest clubs. The new league would consolidate the power and money for European club soccer (known as football outside North America) in the hands of those few owners.
The league covers six clubs from England (Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham); three from Spain (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid); and three from Italy (Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan) — all of which would no longer participate in current continental tournaments, such as the Champions and Europa Leagues, and organize their own mid-week competition, the European Super League.
Under the proposal, the clubs would, if they get their way, continue to play on weekends in their domestic leagues. However, many fans and pundits are calling for the removal of these clubs from all European competition, including their domestic leagues, and the Union of European Football Associations has threatened that players on European Super League clubs would be banned from playing on their national teams.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come out strongly against the proposed European Super League soccer championship. After Johnson met with soccer governing bodies on Tuesday, No. 10 Downing Street issued a strongly worded statement on his behalf.
“The prime minister confirmed the government will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop,” the statement said. “He reiterated his unwavering support for the football authorities and confirmed they have the government’s full backing to take whatever action necessary to put a stop to these plans.
“He was clear that no action is off the table and the government is exploring every possibility, including legislative options, to ensure these proposals are stopped.”
Meanwhile, even Prince William has weighed in on the new league, saying on Monday that, “Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community — from the top level to the grassroots — and the values of competition and fairness at its core. I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love.”
Jamie Lang and Naman Ramachandran contributed to this report.