Banking giant JPMorgan made a rare public apology on Friday, admitting that it regrets backing Europe’s doomed Super League of top-tier soccer teams, which has sparked a violent backlash from fans.
“We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future,” a representative for the bank said. “We will learn from this.”
JPMorgan provided a $4.2 billion cash infusion to the founding 12 soccer teams to break away from the established soccer league, the Union of European Football Associations, in order to form its own more lucrative league.
But the plan fell apart on April 21 after the rogue breakaway group lost the backing of all six Premier League teams, with eight of the 12 founding clubs from England, Italy and Spain backing out under massive pressure from fans, politicians and even the British royal family.
JPMorgan was tarred and feathered for its role in funding the Super League, which was blasted as a money grab by a coterie of well-heeled teams that would disrupt the traditional way competitions have been organized for decades in Europe’s Champions League. Soccer fans stormed Twitter, calling for a boycott of the Wall Street bank.
“Hit them where it will hurt – get multinationals to boycott @JPMorgan,” one fan tweeted. “Move to @Bankofamerica.”
“@jpmorgan You have no idea what you have unleashed here by supporting a European Super League,” another wrote. “We will avoid any businesses or financial products that JP Morgan have their grubby little paws in.”
The mega-bank was the sole lender to the new soccer endeavor, which was led by Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez. The financing package was a key ingredient to get the 12 clubs, which included Juventus, Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona, on board.
JPMorgan also had its corporate sustainability rating downgraded by Standard Ethics over its role in funding the new soccer competition.
The controversy comes as JPMorgan head honcho Jamie Dimon continues to call for companies to focus on their employees, communities and customers in addition to their stockholders.
“Capitalism must be modified to do a better job of creating a healthier society, one that is more inclusive and creates more opportunity for more people,” he said in an open letter to Time magazine in 2020.
Despite that sentiment, the billionaire CEO has come under fire from critics who claim he has not made good on that pledge.