Friday, 1 July 2022 – 12:45

Government ‘concerned’ about plans for a European Super League in football

The Culture Secretary has said the Government is ‘concerned’ about reported plans for a European Super League that could destroy the football pyramid.

An official announcement is expected to be made soon regarding a breakaway European Super League, with Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea expected to be among the English clubs involved.

The league would rival UEFA’s Champions League format and is thought to include 15 permanent members. According to reports, the league will be supported financially by US banking giant JP Morgan with around £4.6bn. 

In a tweet on Sunday evening, the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said;

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

“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.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also later commented on the situation, saying;

“Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action. They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.

“The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”

There has been significant opposition from fans about the reported plans, while UEFA and football authorities in England, Spain and Italy have also all expressed their opposition to it.

The new project could be of significant financial benefit to ‘top clubs’ and their owners but harm the structure of football as it exists today. It is understood that it would not be possible for the founding members to be relegated, removing the element of fair competition.

Former Manchester United defender and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville accused those involved of ‘pure greed’ and said he was ‘disgusted’ with the plans. Neville has also been among others to call for independent regulators in English football to stop the power sitting with the top clubs.

If launched, it is feared that the project would cause significant damage to the football pyramid in England, where funds support the lower league and local levels of football. Such a project could be particularly damaging currently with many clubs severely impacted by the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been suggested that any clubs involved in the project would face penalties from football authorities, including being banned from participation in all other domestic and international competitions. 

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