JP Morgan promises to 'learn' from European Super League mistake

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·3 min read
Barcelona's Lionel Messi looks on during their Champions League soccer match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona was set to be one of the founding teams of the European Super League. Photo: Joan Monfort/AP
Barcelona's Lionel Messi looks on during their Champions League soccer match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona was set to be one of the founding teams of the European Super League. Photo: Joan Monfort/AP

JP Morgan (JPM) has promised to "learn" lessons from its involvement with the disastrous and aborted European Super League football competition.

The US banking giant issued its first statement on the competition on Friday as it scrambled to contain the reputational fallout from its involvement.

"We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future," a spokesperson said. "We will learn from this."

READ MORE: The money behind the European Super League: JP Morgan

The comment is the first public statement attributed to the bank since news of the European Super League broke last weekend. The bank has repeatedly refused requests to comment, including several made by Yahoo Finance UK.

The statement comes after widespread criticism of JP Morgan's role in the competition. JP Morgan had been lined up to finance to competition. Reports suggested the bank was set to loan the competition €3.23bn (£2.8bn, $3.9bn) over 23 years to finance the European Super League's creation.

JP Morgan office in Hong Kong. Photo: S3studio/Getty Images
JP Morgan office in Hong Kong. Photo: S3studio/Getty Images

Commentators in the press accused the bank of sullying the sport by increasing the influence of finance. Others said JP Morgan's support for the breakaway league was not aligned with public statements about being a community focused bank. Earlier this week a European sustainability ratings agency downgraded JP Morgan, citing its involvement with the competition and the public backlash.

READ MORE: What the European Super League's collapse means for JP Morgan

Friday's unprompted statement is a sign of how seriously the bank views the fallout from the competition's collapse. While it will not have a financial impact — the loan was arranged but had not left the bank — it will leave a reputational stain. The reputation issue is a particular problem in Britain, where JP Morgan is gearing up to launch a consumer-focused bank under its Chase brand later this year.

Others involved in the Super League are also trying to salvage reputations. The board of Barcelona FC said on Thursday it would have been "a historical error to turn down the opportunity" to be a founding member of the competition but promised to consult with fans and football officials about the plans.

News of the European Super League broke over the weekend. The mid-week competition was to be a new, American-style fixed league made up of 12 of the continent's biggest — and wealthiest — clubs. Founding members included Manchester United (MANU) and Liverpool in England, Inter Milan and Juventus (JUVI.MI) in Italy, and Spain's Real Madrid and Barcelona.

READ MORE: Manchester United and Juventus shares crash as European Super League falls apart

However, the competition was met with an immediate backlash from fans, politicians, footballing authorities and even players and coaches of the teams involved. The public viewed the competition as an opportunity for Europe's top clubs to make more money while abandoning the vast majority of teams.

The swift and strong backlash sunk the competition before it had even began. All six English clubs had withdrawn by Tuesday evening and the European Super League was effectively dead by Wednesday.

WATCH: What's next for the European Super League?