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JP Morgan ‘misjudged’ football fans over European Super League

Jasper Jolly
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Tim Markland/PA</span>
Photograph: Tim Markland/PA

JP Morgan Chase has said it misjudged its decision to bankroll football clubs’ failed attempt to create a breakaway European Super League, after a huge backlash from fans and politicians.

The US bank had financed a €3.25bn (£2.8bn) funding package for the plan, which would have seen 15 European teams, including six of the biggest in England, given permanent places in an annual competition.

A JP Morgan spokesperson said: “We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might affect them in the future. We will learn from this.”

The plan was announced on Sunday night, but had all but collapsed by Thursday after multiple clubs pulled out under a barrage of criticism. European heads of government had weighed in to say they would try to stop the plan, including Boris Johnson, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Mario Draghi.

Related: ‘Historic opportunity’: Barcelona stay committed to European Super League

The 15 clubs were Italy’s AC Milan, Internazionale Milan and Juventus, Spain’s Atlético de Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, as well as England’s Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

The proponents of the ESL argued that it would have improved football by creating a more regular cycle of fixtures between big teams and with large payments that would trickle down to teams not involved. A person with knowledge of the league plans said the deal would have included financing for grassroots sport and community projects. JP Morgan did not have control of the league’s strategy.

However, the investment bank’s involvement prompted a sustainability rating agency to downgrade its assessment of JP Morgan’s ethical performance.

The scale of the backlash against the league took the bank by surprise. JP Morgan is – along with Citigroup and HSBC – considered by regulators as a bank of key importance to the global economy. At the end of 2020 it held assets worth $3.4tn (£2.5tn) on its balance sheet.