Boris Johnson vows to block European Super League

Boris Johnson vows to ‘make sure’ current European Super League plans don’t go ahead

‘I don’t think it’s good news for football in this country’ - PM blasts breakaway contest

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
@andywoodcock
Monday 19 April 2021 12:55
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Boris Johnson has said he will “make sure” that the breakaway European Super League “doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed”.

The prime minister was speaking the morning after the shock announcement that six English Premier League sides - Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs - had signed up to a new tournament involving some of the continent’s biggest clubs.

The proposal has sparked outrage among fans, football authorities and other clubs, as the proposed Super League would be “closed”, meaning that the founding members could not be relegated from the lucrative contest.

Mr Johnson said the European Super League was not “good news for fans” and promised to work with the football authorities “to make sure this doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is due to make a statement in the Commons on the European Super League plans on Monday afternoon.

And the cross-party House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee is to meet to discuss what its chair Julian Knight referred to as “a dark day for football”.

Speaking to reporters during a local election campaign visit to Gloucestershire, the PM said football clubs were more than “great global brands”, and needed to have a link with their fans and communities.

Asked if teams joining the breakaway league could be compelled to pay back state-backed coronavirus loans, Mr Johnson said: “We are going to look at everything that we can do with the football authorities to make sure that this doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed.

“I don’t think that it’s good news for fans,  I don’t think it’s good news for football in this country.”

He added: “These clubs are not just great global brands – of course they’re great global brands – they’re also clubs that have originated historically from their towns, from their cities, from their local communities, they should have a link with those fans, and with the fan base in their community.

“So it is very, very important that that continues to be the case. I don’t like the look of these proposals, and we’ll be consulting about what we can do.”

Mr Knight said: “This is a dark day for football – a deal done behind closed doors apparently with no regard for supporters.

“Though this idea was mooted several months ago, what’s shocking is the speed at which this breakaway league has been announced.

“What’s needed is a fan-led review of football with real teeth and here we have more evidence to strengthen the case for it.

“Football needs a reset, but this is not the way to do it. The interests of community clubs must be put at the heart of any future plans.

“We, the committee, will be discussing this when we meet tomorrow in a private session.”

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