Former Man City chairman says he's ashamed of ESL six

'I think there are two things in play here: one is greed and the other is desperation'
Former Man City chairman says he's ashamed of ESL six

Former FA and Man City chairman David Bernstein: 'Im ashamed as clubs with that history should have great responsibility to the rest of the game.'

FORMER Football Association and Manchester City chairman David Bernstein said he is "really ashamed" of the six Premier League clubs who have agreed to join a European Super League.

It was announced on Sunday that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among 12 clubs who have committed to the project.

Bernstein told BBC Radio: "I'm ashamed. I've supported Manchester City all my life. It's a club I love. But I'm really ashamed, as I know Gary Neville has said he is about his old club Manchester United, and I think Jamie Carragher and Liverpool.

"I'm ashamed as clubs with that history should have great responsibility to the rest of the game."

Bernstein believes there are two driving factors attracting clubs to the Super League, adding: "I think there are two things in play here: one is greed and the other is desperation.

"And it's because some of these clubs have incurred enormous debt. I believe certainly Barcelona and Real Madrid, and I think at least one of the English clubs, are approaching a billion pounds of debt.

"I think they're in a desperate situation. One of the things they haven't done during the pandemic is to impose some sort of wages control. They've got themselves into a bit of a predicament."

Bernstein cannot see the league being a success, saying: "It's a lifeline that I think's only going to end, if it happens at all, very badly.

"Because a closed league, as they're proposing, without promotion and relegation, without recognition of the rest of the game, is potentially a dead league.

"It won't have the life of football as we understand it. I think the arrogance of these half a dozen English clubs is something to behold."

The Labour Party's Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, which is home to two of the Super League founder clubs in Manchester United and Manchester City, tweeted: "That phrase 'the game's gone' always used to annoy me.

"But with VAR and now this, nothing else better sums up where we are. It's the phrase of the day. #TheGamesGone"

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow branded the Super League a "grotesque concept".

Speaking to BBC Radio Four, he said: "These proposals do away with sporting merit. It would enable a small number of clubs to be in this competition come what may and, for millions of people in football, that goes against everything the sport means and stands for.

"The idea is that the uncertainty that comes with sport, that makes it so compelling, that we all love, is actually damaging to the business model of these huge clubs.

"So the scheme is designed to take away that uncertainty, to give predictability to their businesses so that, if they're badly managed or have a poor year, they're still in the premier tournament. Does that sound like sport or football to you? To me it sounds a grotesque concept."

Former Football Association chairman Greg Dyke does not expect the project to get off the ground because of the widespread opposition to it.

He added: "I don't think it will happen. I think it's a game that's going on. But I don't think it's good for football in any way at all. Without the approval of UEFA, but particularly without the approval of FIFA, I think this is very difficult to make this happen.

"I think it's a big mistake. And I think the opposition to it - which has come from almost everywhere, I haven't heard anybody in favour yet - will probably stop it."

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