ANGER mounted last night at plans for a European Super League — with the Government threatening to punish clubs that break away.
Owners of the Premier League’s Big Six joiners were dubbed “snakes” by Uefa, while stars may be banned from the Euros and World Cup.
Furious fans protested outside the Prem’s ‘Big Six’ clubsCredit: Reuters
Furious fans protested outside the Prem’s “Big Six” clubs today amid a wave of anger at plans for a European Super League.
Current and former players, celebrities, politicians and royalty were also united in revulsion at what was called a “war on football”.
Owners of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Spurs — among the 12 breaking away — were dubbed “liars and snakes”.
A £4.6billion pot would be split among them under the plans while there would be no relegation from the new league. But ministers last night threatened punishment taxes and visa restrictions on the clubs — while Uefa warned players would be banned from international competition.
Writing in The Sun today, Boris Johnson promised fans: “It is your game – and you can rest assured that I’m going to do everything I can to give this ludicrous plan a straight red.”
FA President Prince William also voiced his concern at the proposals, adding: “Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community.”
The Football Supporters Association said the plans were “motivated by nothing but cynical greed”. It added: “This competition is being created behind our backs by billionaire club owners who have zero regard for the game’s traditions and continue to treat football as their personal fiefdom.”
Fans from the six clubs also joined forces to condemn the proposals. They wrote: “We are unified in opposition to them and we will continue to do all we can collectively to stop these plans.”
Fans from the six clubs also joined forces to condemn the proposalsCredit: The Sun
Liverpool fans hung banners around Anfield in protest of the European Super LeagueCredit: PA
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin warned any players lining up in the closed league would be “banned from the World Cup and Euros”.
He also branded club execs “liars and snakes” after undercutting attempts to reform the Champions League.
He said: “This idea is a spit in the face for all football lovers and our society.”
Match of the Day host and former Spurs striker Gary Lineker said: “If fans stand as one against this anti-football pyramid scheme, it can be stopped in its tracks.”
Ex-Liverpool defender and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher was “ashamed”.
He added: “Liverpool’s apparent leading role in threatening football’s competitive ideals is a betrayal of a heritage they are seeking to cash in on.”
Liverpool were in action last night at Elland Road, where Leeds players warmed up wearing protest shirts.
As The Sun said Balls To The Super League, Arsenal legend Ian Wright called the idea “absolutely shameful”.
FA President Prince William voiced his concern at the proposalsCredit: Getty
Man Utd chiefs Ed Woodward and Avram Glazer are two of the ESL’s biggest supportersCredit: Getty
He added: “Remember who you are, what you are and what you represent. That’s what Arsenal’s about.”
Ex-Man United defender Rio Ferdinand stormed: “This is, for me, a war on football.”
Former United midfielder Ander Herrera, who now plays for PSG, said the “rich were stealing what the people created”. The Spaniard added: “I love football and I cannot remain silent about this.”
Current United star Bruno Fernandes agreed online with fellow Portuguese international Daniel Podence that “dreams can’t be buy (sic)”. Football Supporters Association boss Kevin Miles said billionaire owners are desperate to carve out an ever-bigger slice of revenues.
He added: “It would threaten the very existence and the structure of English football we have known and loved for many years.
“Many of them don’t understand the culture, and have no sympathy and support for the pyramid of how the game is organised here.”
Actor Stephen Fry said of the clubs: “They have brought together the whole divided nation, indeed all of Europe – everyone united in disgust and revulsion at such greed and stupidity.”
The Super League will have 20 sides, each in line for a welcome bonus of more than 200million euros. Organisers are haggling over broadcasting rights.
But the PM vowed to look at all options to strangle it, while ministers threatened windfall taxes and even bans on teams entering the UK.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening. We will do whatever it takes.
“We are examining every option, from governance to competition law and mechanisms that allow football to take place.”
Ludicrous…I’ll give it a red card
By Boris Johnson
ANYONE who has watched me play football or played with me in the same match will know that I am far from an expert on the beautiful game.
But you don’t need to be an expert to be horrified at the prospect of the so-called “Super League” being cooked up by a small number of clubs.
You only need a pulse to know that football is not a brand or a product. In fact, it’s so much more than even a sport.
Football clubs in every town and city and at every tier of the pyramid have a unique place at the heart of their communities, and are an unrivalled source of passionate local pride.
And the joy of the game’s current structure, one that has kept people coming back year after year, generation after generation, is that even the most seemingly endless period of frustration is made bearable by the possibility, however remote, that one day you could see them rise up.
After all, if Leicester City can win the Premier League, if Nottingham Forest can be champions of Europe, not once but twice, then maybe, just maybe, your team can do the same.
But that can only happen if the playing field is even vaguely level and the ability to progress is universal.
The European Super League guarantees neither, which is why it has been roundly rejected by the people who matter most: the fans.
A year of empty stadiums has reminded us all that football without fans is an altogether more anaemic spectacle.
It is your game — and you can rest assured that I’m going to do everything I can to give this ludicrous plan a straight red.
Fans on the continent also slammed the proposals as “illegitimate, irresponsible, and anti-competitive”.
Football Supporters Europe said: “This closed-shop competition will be the final nail in the coffin of European football, forsaking everything that has made it so popular and successful — sporting merit, promotion and relegation, qualification to Uefa competitions via domestic success, and financial solidarity.
“More to the point, it is driven exclusively by greed. The only ones who stand to gain are hedge funds, oligarchs, and a handful of already wealthy clubs, many of which perform poorly in their own domestic leagues despite their inbuilt advantage. Enough is enough.”
Man United’s US owners, the Glazers, saw the club’s share price soar by 8.5 per cent as trading began in New York – with investors backing the idea. But Ian Stirling, of the Man Utd Supporters’ Trust, accused them of rubbishing the memory of the Munich air disaster.
Boris Johnson vowed to help put an end to the European Super League proposalCredit: Reuters
He said: “A team died in 1958 to play in Europe, and this is our history being thrown away for money, by owners who know nothing about Manchester.”
Liverpool supporters descended on Anfield to voice their fury.
A banner read: “LFC fans against European Super League.” Another next to it read: “Shame on you. RIP LFC 1892-2021.”
Spion Kop 1906, which organises flag displays there, tweeted: “We can no longer give our support to a club which puts financial greed above the integrity of the game.”