European Super League, Liverpool Fc, Uefa, Prince William, Premier League, Manchester United Fc

European Super League, Liverpool Fc

Prince William: I share fans’ fears for the future of football

Duke of Cambridge says European Super League risks damaging English game, as the Government and sport’s governing bodies unite against plan

4/20/2021 12:36:00 AM

Prince William , an Aston Villa supporter, said: “Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core.'

Duke of Cambridge says European Super League risks damaging English game, as the Government and sport’s governing bodies unite against plan

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association, went public with his concerns amid a fierce backlash against the ‘big six’ Premier League clubs who threatened to break away.Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, announced that the Government was ready to step in – with changes to the law if necessary – to stop the new league’s creation. He said everything from a windfall tax on clubs participating to fewer work permits and reduced help with policing on match days were being considered as punishments for clubs which took part.

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Mr Dowden’s intervention came after conversations with executives at the Premier League, FA and Uefa, who are together in opposition and braced for a potential court battle. Aleksander Ceferin, the Uefa president, branded rebel clubs the “dirty dozen” and called executives at Manchester United and Juventus “snakes" for pursuing the idea.

The unprecedented stand-off between Government and football governing bodies against the country’s most famous clubs followed a dramatic statement late on Sunday night. Six English clubs announced they would become founding members of the so-called Super League: Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City. headtopics.com

They joined Spanish sides Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan. No German, French or Dutch sides have yet backed the move.The proposal sparked outrage as the founder clubs would become permanent members of the league, with no promotion or relegation, an idea criticised as against the spirit of football.

The teams involved argued they could continue to play in their domestic leagues alongside the new competition but have been threatened with expulsion and having their players banned from international duties.JP Morgan, the US investment bank, is financing the new league, providing a €3.5 billion (£3 billion) grant to the founding clubs to spend on infrastructure and recovery from the pandemic. The founder clubs would become permanent members of the league, with no promotion or relegation - an idea criticised as against the spirit of football.

The Premier League's 14 other clubs will hold emergency talks on Tuesday. Uefa will discuss expelling the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea from the semi-finals of the Champions League and Europa League at a meeting on Friday.Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, said he stood by his previously expressed opposition to a Super League, saying his views "didn't change" and that he was "not involved" in the scheme. In a post-match interview on Monday night, Liverpool's James Milner said: "I don't like it and hopefully it doesn't happen."

Leeds United appeared to protest against the Super League, wearing T-shirts before the match against Liverpool bearing the words: "Earn it" and "football is for the fans".Uefa will discuss expelling Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea from the semi-finals of the Champions League and Europa League at a meeting on Friday. headtopics.com

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The backlash was swift and intense after the proposal was confirmed by the clubs involved on Sunday night, uniting politicians across the political spectrum and supporters from all corners of the country.Prince William, an Aston Villa supporter, tweeted: “Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core. I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love.”

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Dowden said that while the football governing bodies would lead the opposition, the Government was ready to step in if needed.“Be in no doubt, if they can't act, we will. We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening,” Mr Dowden told MPs.

He announced that the fan-led review of British football which had been promised in the Conservative 2019 election manifesto would now be formally triggered. Mr Dowden said that the review, to be overseen by the Tory MP and former sports minister Tracey Crouch, would amount to a “root and branch” look at the game.

“We are examining every option, from governance reform, to competition law and mechanisms that allow football to take place,” Mr Dowden said. But during responses to MPs – who universally condemned the proposal, often as “greed” from foreign-owned clubs – Mr Dowden opened the door further to other major reforms. headtopics.com

One option he said would be looked at in the review was the German '50+1 rule' model which means a club must hold a majority of its own voting rights, otherwise known as fan-owned clubs.If adopted (and implementation would appear difficult) it would be a radical departure from current ownership rules which allow foreign individuals and trusts to control football clubs.

Another option was a “windfall tax” that would see Super League clubs punished financially for participation. A third was changes to image rights that allow clubs to make vast sums.Other ideas the Government is open to include cutting back support for policing matches involving Super League clubs and blocking foreign Super League clubs playing in Britain. There is also interest in forcing clubs, such as Tottenham, to pay back government loans handed out to help with the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic if they go through with the proposal.

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Changes to work permits which allow foreign footballers to play in Britain and changes to the law to stop the Super League coming into existence also are being examined.Mr Dowden said: “We cannot have money and brand triumphing and trumping the colour and the joy of the game. Football will be massively damaged by this move.”

Boris Johnson said the breakaway plans were not “good news for fans" or for UK football.“I don't like the look of these proposals,” the Prime Minister told reporters on a campaign visit to Gloucestershire. “We are going to look at everything that we can do with the football authorities to make sure that this doesn't go ahead in the way that it's currently being proposed.”

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said of the proposal: “It diminishes competition. It pulls up the drawbridge. It is designed for and by a small elite. But worst of all, it ignores the fans.”He called on the Government to introduce legislation blocking English clubs from joining the league.

Read more: The Telegraph »

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