JPMorgan Chase apologized on Friday for its role in arranging billions of dollars in financing for a breakaway European soccer league, admitting in a statement that it had “misjudged” how the project would be viewed by fans.
JPMorgan Chase had pledged about $4 billion to underwrite the new league, but the American investment bank did not end up issuing it or losing any money: The league collapsed only 48 hours after it was announced, after more than half of its 12 founding clubs changed their minds and announced they would not take part.
Like the 12 clubs involved in the breakaway group — which included European giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool, Juventus and A.C. Milan — JPMorgan had come under intense criticism from fans and others merely for participating in the plan.
Designed as a 20-team league with 15 permanent members, the Super League would have severely cut in to the revenues of dozens of national leagues, imperiled the finances and values of the hundreds of European clubs who were left out, and upended the structures that have underpinned European soccer for a century — all while funneling billions to a few elite teams.
a letter to fans that acknowledged the club had made a mess of things.
“We got it wrong,” Glazer wrote, “and we want to show that we can put things right.”
No one connected with the project was able to escape being contaminated by the criticism, including the bank that financed it. JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, found himself under attack on social media and from within banking circles.
to position the bank as a good social and corporate citizen.
But even as it sustained an immense reputational hit, JPMorgan has been able to walk away from the deal without suffering financial losses, and with its expenses covered, according to an executive familiar with the bank’s role in the financing.
That might not be true for the teams that walked away after signing contracts that bound the 12 founding members to the breakaway concept.
The Super League is not, in fact, officially dead. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are still signed up, and continue to strategize.
One reason they may not have walked away could be financial. The contracts signed by the 12 founding members included penalty clauses worth millions of dollars. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, whose mounting debts and fears of rising costs led them into the project in the first place, could be positioned — by staying in — to extract tens of millions of dollars in punishments out of their former partners for walking away from it.