European Super League: UK Government condemns ‘troubling and damaging’ plans for breakaway competition

The Premier League said earlier on Sunday that the plans would ‘destroy’ the premise of open competition

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 18 April 2021 19:43
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The UK Government has joined the Premier League and Uefa in condemning proposals for a new “closed shop” European Super League, labelling the plans as “deeply troubling and damaging” for British football.

It is believed a group of 12 European clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool, have formally agreed to join the competition that would effectively replace the Champions League.

The format of a European Super League would see its founding members, which are understood to also include at least Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United, given special status and automatic entry each season.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the European Super League would harm fans and local communities, with The Football Supporters Association also joining the growing list of organisations in opposing the plans.

“Football supporters are the heartbeat of our national sport and any major decisions made should have their backing,” Dowden said.

“With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game.

“Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that undermines this is deeply troubling and damaging for football.

“We have a football pyramid where funds from the globally successful Premier League flow down the leagues and into local communities.

“I would be bitterly disappointed to see any action that destroys that.”

READ MORE: European Super League: How would it work, what would it look like, and who would be involved?

In a joint statement with the English Football Association, the Spanish FA, La Liga, the Italian FA and Serie A, Uefa and the Premier League condemned the “cynical project” and threatened to ban participating clubs from domestic competitions.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan are also thought to be involved in discussions.

Alison McGovern MP, Labour’s shadow sports minister said: “These reports are deeply concerning. If true, these proposals would be deeply damaging to football and football fans and the clubs involved should distance themselves from them immediately.

“Any approach that excludes fans - who are the lifeblood of football - is doomed to fail.

“This is further proof that the Government must deliver on what they have promised: a proper, fan-led review of football governance.”

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