Greek-American Jamie Dimon, the Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan Chase, is the man behind the controversial project aimed at reshaping European football through the proposed creation of the European Super League.
The billionaire businessman at the helm of the largest of the big four American banks, had a revolutionary vision: To create an almost exclusive league of the richest clubs in Europe that would compete against each other.
The proposed league would seek to help these clubs recover their economic losses after the pandemic, in addition to generating spectacular sports events and the “fairer” distribution of the prizes.
The Wall Street giant said on Monday it has committed €3.25 billion ($3.85 billion) to getting the new league off the ground and that it would be shared between the clubs when the new competition begins.
The twelve football clubs that have signed up to a European Super League breakaway competition have each been promised a €200 million-€300 million “welcome bonus” by JP Morgan Chase.
The funding provided by JP Morgan is secured against expected multibillions in TV broadcasting rights.
Backlash from politicians, fans
The plans, which would resemble US sports leagues, where there is no promotion or relegation and owners can predict steady yearly profits, have been condemned by world leaders, national football federations, football stars and legions of fans.
Even Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis condemned the plan, saying it is “wrong.”
“The possibility of the unexpected makes football so exciting. The proposal from a few wealthy European clubs to form a closed league totally cuts against the history and tradition of the game,” he said.
Already Dimon’s vision has suffered a huge setback, as by Tuesday evening all the English clubs that had originally agreed to join the ambitious project had made a swift U-turn.
Chelsea was the first go, followed by Manchester City and next by Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham.
The pullout by English clubs left just half of the original twelve “founder members” of the super league.
Italian giants Milan and Internazionale were on Tuesday night reportedly also considering jumping ship, leaving a third Serie A club, Juventus, and Spanish trio Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Barcelona as the last standing members of the breakaway group.
Despite the setback, the European Super League vowed to “reshape the project,” insisting it could still go ahead.
“Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations,” a statement read.
Jamie Dimon and his Greek roots
Dimon was born in New York City, one of three sons of Greek immigrants Theodore and Themis Dimon. He attended The Browning School, a prestigious all-boys prep school on New York’s Upper East Side.
His paternal grandfather Panos Papademetriou, who worked as a banker in Smyrna (now Izmir) and Athens, left Greece and arrived in New York in 1921.
He reportedly told two stories about why he changed his last name to Dimon: one was that when he was trying to find work as a busboy, he realized people didn’t want to hire Greeks; the other story was that he had fallen in love with a French girl.
Dimon has an older brother, Peter, and a fraternal twin brother, Ted. His father and grandfather were both stockbrokers at Shearson.
“I think immigration has been one of the vital things about the growth of America. I’m the product of grandparents who all immigrated from Greece. I hope eventually we have proper immigration,” he told Business Insider in 2017.
Since January 2006, Dimon has been the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, a position to which he added that of president in December of that same year.
JP Morgan Chase shares are owned by large institutions, pension plans, mutual funds, and individual investors.
About 100 million people in the United States own shares of the bank, including veterans, teachers, police, firefighters, retirees or those who save for a home, school or retirement, according to Dimon, in his letter from presentation of the 2019 results.
Under Dimon, JP Morgan has participated as a sponsor in different sports disciplines, from the US’ Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, MLS (American football, called Major League Soccer), and takes part in tennis’ US Open of tennis, as well as in other activities such as motor racing, rugby and horse racing.