April 19 (Reuters) - A controversial decision to form a breakaway European Super League was taken to save football and in part motivated because young people are no longer interested in the game, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Tuesday.
Speaking for the first time since 12 top European clubs announced on Sunday that they would form a new elite league, the new chairman of the Super League said football needed to evolve and adapt to the times.
"Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it... and we are doing this to save football at this critical moment," Perez said on the Spanish TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones.
"Audiences are decreasing and rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt.
"Young people are no longer interested in football. Why not? Because there are a lot of poor quality games and they are not interested, they have other platforms on which to distract themselves."
Real have been joined in the venture by two other Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Premier League clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have also signed up to the plans.
The founding group of 12 is completed by Italian Serie A trio AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
Perez said the top teams were losing money and needed a fresh impetus.
Together we have lost 5 billion (euros), he said. In two seasons Madrid have lost 400 million."
"When you have no income other than television, you say that the solution is to make more attractive matches that fans from all over the world can see with all the big clubs and we came to the conclusion that if instead of having a Champions League we have a Super League we would be able to alleviate what we have lost."
The move has triggered widespread condemnation across the sport and society but Perez brushed off the criticism and played up the prospect of more big games.
"What's so attractive? That we play among the big teams, the competitiveness, to generate more resources?" he added.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)