© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers are reflected in the windows of JP Morgan’s Canary Wharf offices in London
By Pamela Barbaglia
LONDON (Reuters) -JPMorgan said Friday it regretted helping football clubs launch a breakaway European Super League after the plan collapsed earlier this week due to a storm of protests from fans and politicians.
“We have clearly misjudged how this deal will be viewed by the wider football community and how it could affect them in the future,” said a representative from the bank.
“We will learn from it.”
JPMorgan (NYSE 🙂 awarded the founding clubs a € 3.5 billion ($ 4.2 billion) grant to support infrastructure and recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank was the only lender to the new soccer competition, which was headed by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez.
The funding package was key to helping Perez gain the trust of other major European clubs and drafting a binding agreement that would sign a total of twelve clubs, including Juventus, Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona, for the new tournament to increase revenue.
But the plan collapsed on April 21 – less than 48 hours after it was announced – and eight of the twelve founding members from England, Italy and Spain walked away under massive pressure from fans, politicians, football officials and even the British royal family.
JPMorgan was also criticized for its role in funding the rebel clubs when football fans immediately took to Twitter calling for a boycott of the Wall Street Bank.
“We’ll avoid any company or financial product where JPMorgan has its filthy little paws,” one angry fan tweeted on April 19th.
The bank’s sustainability rating was downgraded by Standard Ethics for its role in funding the new soccer competition.
The reputational damage arises when JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon repeatedly urged companies to consider the needs of workers, communities and customers, as well as shareholders.
“Capitalism needs to be modified to create a healthier society that is more inclusive and creates more opportunities for more people,” he said in an open letter to Time Magazine in 2020.
($ 1 = 0.8293 euros)
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