Everton, Leeds and Aston Villa among clubs to oppose European Super League

Everton, Leeds and Aston Villa among clubs to oppose European Super League

Leeds players wore ‘Football Is For The Fans’ shirts during a warm-up (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Six Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City – have signed up to a new European Super League.

The breakaway tournament would see the establishment of a ‘closed league’, without the threat of relegation for the 12 founding members.

The dozen teams – which also include Spanish sides Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as well as Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan from Italy – have come in for scathing criticism across world football.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the reaction of some of the other 14 Premier League sides.

Everton

Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals issued a statement from the club’s board, hitting out at the “preposterous arrogance” of those involved.

“Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs,” a club statement read.

“Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests. Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game. Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table.

“Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond.

“At this time of national and international crisis – and a defining period for our game – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost.

“Instead, these clubs have been secretly conspiring to break away from a football pyramid that has served them so well.

“And in that Pyramid Everton salutes every club, be it Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, Gillingham, Lincoln City, Morecambe, Southend United, Notts County and the rest who have, with their very being, enriched the lives of their supporters throughout the game’s history. And vice versa.

“The self-proclaimed ‘Super Six’ appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game – including their own – by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat.

“The backlash is understandable and deserved – and has to be listened to. This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.

“On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practises that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.

“Finally we would ask the owners, chairmen, and board members of the six clubs to remember the privileged position they hold – not only as custodians of their clubs but also custodians of the game. The responsibility they carry should be taken seriously.

“We urge them all to consider what they wish their legacy to be.”

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani also spoke out against a move which would “kill dreams of players and fans”.

Radrizzani posted on Twitter: “Absolutely against the sporting spirit, the dream of millions of fans to conquer the champions on the field, with planning, vision, work.

“Kill dreams of players and fans. The teams are fans and we are custodians of the club.”

Aston Villa

Aston Villa beat Bayern Munich to win the 1982 European Cup (PA Archive)

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

“These proposals do away with sporting merit,” he said on BBC Radio Four.

“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.”

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish hopes some good could come of the collective outcry against the breakaway proposals (Steven Paston/PA)

Eagles chairman Steve Parish feels a united front of opposition could help bring a positive collective approach for change.

“We all know it’s been brewing for a long time, don’t we? From the leaking of Project Big Picture, you know, the constant things that we deal with in the Premier League really, which are the attempts to load the dice,” Parish told Sky Sports.

“We might look back on this though and think that this is actually quite a good day for football, because what we have seen is people massively overplaying their hand, in my view.

“I don’t know what day they thought that anybody would react well to this or it would all be OK, but you know to unite Sadiq Khan, Boris Johnson, Emmanuelle Macron, Jurgen Klopp, every football fan in the country, you guys (Sky), every chairman other than the top six, every chief exec together on a Sunday afternoon is quite some talent.

“I’m really, really encouraged by the outpouring from everybody and I think we may actually get into a very good place I hope after this.

“I’m a fan. This is my club I have supported since I was four years old.

“I’m involved in football because I think that there’s a dream, as naive as I might be, that one day we might play in Europe.

“What is the point for all of us if that dream is taken away?”

Fulham

Fulham chairman Shahid Khan also owns NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars (Simon Cooper/PA)

Fulham owner and chairman Shahid Khan denounced proposals.

Khan, who also owns NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars, said in statement on the Fulham website: “I join with the entirety of Fulham Football Club, and 13 fellow Premier League clubs, in denouncing the proposed European Super League.

“The concept will not serve the game or our most important stakeholders – the generations of football fans here in England and throughout Europe who have been as loyal to their domestic leagues, and the opportunities they offer, as they are faithful to their favourite team.”

Brighton, who are fighting to stay in the Premier League, expressed their dismay at the proposals of a “closed-shop for all but the largest clubs”.

A statement from the Seagulls read: “Brighton & Hove Albion are totally opposed to plans for a breakaway European Super League as it would destroy the dreams of clubs at every level of the domestic game.

“These plans are the latest in an alarming and growing list of clandestine attempts from a small group of clubs whose actions would be wiping out close to 150 years of football’s tradition, competition, and sporting progress through merit.

“The ups and downs of football – promotion, relegation, winning titles and cups, challenging for, or missing out, on a European place – are all part and parcel of the drama, jeopardy, joy and heartbreak that makes our game the most watched and most loved in the world.

“These key attributes create significant value from which we feed a financial support structure which helps to sustain football at every level in our country and well beyond. By contrast, a European Super League would concentrate value for the benefit of a small number of clubs.

“The efforts to create a closed-shop for all but the largest clubs demonstrate a clear lack of respect for the contributions of all clubs within the domestic leagues in this country and across Europe.

“Plans for a European Super League also totally disregard fans, the lifeblood of our sport at professional levels, and fly in the face of the views and wishes of the overwhelming majority of football supporters of all clubs.

“These clubs, like Brighton & Hove Albion, invest heavily to support their own dreams, and those of their fans, to play at the highest level they can, and to help create a sense of pride in their own clubs across the country.

“Off the pitch, we remain custodians of our clubs on behalf of past, present and future generations of fans and the communities we all represent. This is a responsibility we believe we must all take very seriously.

“It has been hugely encouraging to see universal opposition and widespread condemnation from across the game from various football authorities, fans, players, commentators, pundits and media, and all-party opposition in government.

“We will continue to work with those groups, including the UK Government and MPs of all political parties, football’s governing bodies and all of our colleagues across football to oppose and defeat these plans.

“Ultimately, we are committed to a thriving domestic league and pyramid with the ultimate reward of European competition for achievements and success on the field. We remain open to a transparent, calm and rationale dialogue with all clubs to achieve this.”

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