In a week that the footballing world was radically altered, young people made sure their voices were heard in response to claims by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, that the younger generation no longer have a passion for the beautiful game.
The now-evanescent European Super League proposal fell through last week following unionised backlash from football supporters worldwide. Whilst the idea of the exclusive competition has been scrapped, comments from ESL chiefs regarding the passions of young people remain a pertinent topic.
The Real Madrid President, 74, defended the launch of the infamous European Super League following widespread outrage towards the inaugural 12 breakaway clubs. He claimed 40% of young people are not currently interested in football.
“When you don’t have any income other than from television, you have to find a solution to make more attractive matches that fans all over the world can watch with all of the big clubs.
“Young people are no longer interested in football. They have other platforms on which to distract themselves,” Perez told El Chiringuito de Jugones.
At FBB, we conducted a survey to see what young people really thought of the ESL, receiving over 2,000 responses from under-21-year-olds around the world and attention from some of the biggest names in football media.
Florentino Perez’ asserted that all 16-24 year olds in Europe have lost interest in football, as if young people all form a single homogenous group with a single school of thought, regardless of if they come from Bolton or Bologna.
Whether this was conceitedness stemming from a vision of the ‘Super League’ actually being successful prior to its demise, or simply a lack of awareness from the people behind said concept, once thing is certain: no one is asking young people. The Football Beyond Borders survey proved that the next generation want their voices to be heard on issues like this, with many providing pragmatic suggestions allowing young people to actually be engaged.
Perhaps, a motive for young people to attend football matches would not be set up a financially-motivated commercial league, whereby payouts are determined on club status, but conversely, lowering Premier League ticket prices for children and young adults, whilst providing much-needed investment at grassroots level.
“Young people say the game is too long,” Perez claimed.
“If young people don’t watch an entire game it is because it is not interesting enough, or we will have to shorten the games.”
FBB thrives on building relationships with young people in the classroom and beyond, using the power of football to change their lives.
For every young person that feels invalidated by recent assumptions, you deserve to have your voices heard; you have the power to make change. We see you.
– The FBB Team