Football fans' fury at 'greedy' American billionaires and banks trying to 'tear up the beautiful game' as Boris vows to BLOCK England's 'Big Six' clubs' bid to form new European Super League

 Boris Johnson today vowed to make sure the proposed European Super League 'doesn't go ahead' as fans and football royalty turned on the 'greedy' mainly-foreign billionaire club owners trying to force through the £4.3billion plan bankrolled by a US investment bank.

The Prime Minister has said the clubs, which include Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs, 'must answer to their fans' before launching the 'very damaging' change that they hope will make them billions in new TV money and advertising.

Mr Johnson said the European Super League was not 'good news' for supporters and he would work with the football authorities 'to make sure this doesn't go ahead' as the six rebel clubs were threatened with expulsion from the Premier League and European competitions with their stars also potentially banned from playing for their countries. 

Speaking in Gloucester today, the PM said football clubs were more than 'great global brands', they needed to have a link with their fans and communities, with supporters already threatening to tear up season tickets and protest outside stadiums in huge numbers if the 'money-grabbing' owners pursue it. 

There could also be attempts to sanction the owners. The US sports moguls behind Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal: Joel Glazer, John W Henry and Stan Kroenke respectively, are key players in the plans. They have been backed by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City and Spurs, owned by British billionaire Joe Lewis, who lives in the Bahamas. 

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is the chairman of the new organisation, while Mr Glazer is a vice-chairman with Juventus' Italian chairman Andrea Agnelli. 

The UK Government is said to be drawing up 'very robust' plans to fight back, including the Home Office withdrawing policing support from matches. They could also lead a legal charge to the High Court amid claims the move could be illegal under UK competition law, but legal experts have told MailOnline that the law is likely to be on the rebels' side.  

Mr Johnson admitted that clubs involved could be compelled to pay back state-backed coronavirus loans and furlough money.

The most extreme change mooted is to transform the ownership rules for clubs to mirror the German model where investors can only own 49 per cent of a club and fans own the remaining 51 per cent. This ensures supporters always have the deciding vote at meetings. Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have not signed up to the Super League due to supporter power on their boards.  

The already super-rich club owners behind the proposed European Super League have today rushed to court to try to force through their plans financed by £4.3 billion ($6bn) in loans from US banking giant JP Morgan despite English fans and football legends crying 'betrayal' and declaring war 'for the soul of football'. 

Under the plans the founder clubs will immediately share a £3.5billion pool of cash of up to £310million per club - and up to half of the payment can be ploughed into new players and salaries with the rest spent on the stadium and training facilities.

They would also make billions more by striking a fresh global TV deal with sources close to the founders telling the BBC that they will focus on 'fans of the future' abroad rather than 'legacy fans' in the UK. As well as the TV cash, the advertising money would be shared amongst the 20 clubs proposed to take part, rather than the 79 clubs who take part in the Champions League each year.      

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has laid into the foreign owners driving forward the plans. He said: 'It's pure greed, they're impostors. The owners of Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City have nothing to do with football in this country.  The fans that come into this ground are the people who matter. Forget them [Glazers] they're nothing to do with this club in terms of the actual history of the club and the long-term future. I would come down on them like a ton of bricks'. 

The row that threatens the most seismic change to English football in decades, came as:

  • Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus said to be spearheading the Super League plan. Source tells BBC that clubs will focus on 'fans of the future' abroad rather than 'legacy fans' in the UK;
  • Investment bank JP Morgan has confirmed it will be financing the new European Super League, set to feature 12 of the continent's biggest football clubs, with £4.3billion in loans; 
  • Champions League BT rules itself out of buying TV rights while pundits on Sky Sports, home of the Premier League, vocal in their criticism as Amazon, Netflix and Disney+-owned Star mooted as possible buyers;
  • Government considers recalling Covid loans and furlough payments from English clubs involved as well as withholding policing for Super League matches and even reforming ownership rules for clubs to give fans majority votes; 
  • Fifa, Uefa and the Premier League have already threatened the 12 clubs - including England's 'Big 6' - with expulsion from all major competitions and even promised to ban their top players from playing for their countries;
  • The Super League struck the first blow this morning, revealing they have sent a letter to football's governing bodies and have 'filed a motion before the relevant courts' in England, Spain and Italy to ensure the competition can start in as early as August without the 'punitive measures' the dozen rebel clubs have been threatened with; 
  • Tottenham Hotspur, one of the clubs involved, sack their manager Jose Mourinho after just 18 months in charge; 
  • Porto president Pinto da Costa confirmed they rejected an invitation to join the European Super League while German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund also not signed up;
Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the six English clubs who have signed up to the deeply unpopular European Super League

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the six English clubs who have signed up to the deeply unpopular European Super League

PM will make sure European Super League 'won't go ahead as planned'
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PM Boris Johnson (pictured in Gloucester today) has condemned six English premier league clubs who announced plans to join a European Super League and vowed to stop it

PM Boris Johnson (pictured in Gloucester today) has condemned six English premier league clubs who announced plans to join a European Super League and vowed to stop it

Manchester United legend Gary Neville described the plans as an 'absolute disgrace'
Sir Alex Ferguson said the proposals would be a move away from '70 years of football history'

Manchester United legend Gary Neville described the plans as an 'absolute disgrace'. Sir Alex Ferguson said the proposals would be a move away from '70 years of football history'

Arsenal legend Ian Wright slammed the club's announcement as 'absolutely shameful'

Arsenal legend Ian Wright slammed the club's announcement as 'absolutely shameful' 

Ex-Arsenal players Bacary Sagna and Alan Smith also shared their distress at the proposals

Ex-Arsenal players Bacary Sagna and Alan Smith also shared their distress at the proposals 

The Premier League's record goalscorer, Alan Shearer, said the league should retaliate.

Speaking via bookmaker Coral, he said: 'These 12 clubs dropped a huge grenade on the sport with this announcement, and the Premier League should respond with a grenade of their own and say, OK, you're going to be banned from the Premier League from next season, that's how they should deal with this.

'These clubs want to have their cake and eat it, they think they can play these Super League games in midweek and their domestic leagues at weekends, but I hope the leagues say no, that's not happening.'

Boris Johnson today vowed to stop the league in its tracks.

Speaking to reporters during a campaign visit to Gloucestershire he said: 'These clubs are not just great global brands - of course they're great global brands - they're also clubs that have originated historically from their towns, from their cities, from their local communities, they should have a link with those fans, and with the fan base in their community. So it is very, very important that that continues to be the case. I don't like the look of these proposals, and we'll be consulted about what we can do.' 

Asked if teams such as Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs joining the breakaway European Super League could be compelled to pay back state-backed coronavirus loans and furlough money, Mr Johnson said: '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. I don't think that it's good news for fans, I don't think it's good news for football in this country.' 

Tory MP Damian Collins, former Chair of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said the announcement is a 'ploy' to get more cash when the new Champions League deal is agreed this year because the cash is set to be shared among more clubs. He said: 'It looks completely cynical - a negotiating ploy to get more money. This is from American club owners who have brought ideas from the NFL'.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, also a Sky Sports pundit with Mr Neville, said: 'Manchester United's shameless capitalism does not surprise me. United fans will agree that from day one, the Glazers have never hidden the fact they bought the club for the cash.  But John W Henry (Liverpool's owner) is more cunning, courting fans' groups in his early years and presenting himself as keen to engage, yet consistently failing to grasp the culture of the Kop'.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United's most successful manager who is still on the club's board said: 'Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football. In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.' 

Current Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said: 'This is a threat, this war by the big clubs against the rest. We have to fight against this and we have the fans on our side. Without them, this sport does not work. I always say, it's nice to watch big game but it's nice to watch small team beating big teams. This is what makes the Premier League great. We have to take this very, very seriously. UEFA have a tough job now'.

The League Managers' Association will fully support any 'appropriate measures' taken against the breakaway clubs.

'The LMA stands alongside the game's other stakeholders in opposing the newly proposed European Super League,' said a statement.

'We believe that any such league would be catastrophically destabilising to the entire European football pyramid, with deep and far-reaching consequences.

'Closing off the top of the pyramid of European club football would immediately extinguish many of the ambitions and dreams that drive managers, coaches, players and fans.

'Club owners are custodians of the clubs they lead and they have a duty and responsibility to the integrity of the game that should always take precedence over self-interest and financial gain.

'We will support the game's stakeholders in taking any appropriate measures required and we urge those leading the clubs responsible for the European Super League proposals to fundamentally reconsider their position and act in the best interests of the whole game.'

Former Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, now playing for Paris St Germain, said in a statement posted to Twitter: 'I fell in love with popular football, with the football of the fans, with the dream of seeing the team of my heart compete against the greatest.

'If this European super league advances, those dreams are over, the illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants of being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end.

'I love football and I cannot remain silent about this, I believe in an improved Champions League, but not in the rich stealing what the people created, which is nothing other than the most beautiful sport on the planet.' 

The Premier League held an emergency board meeting after the plan emerged yesterday and has written to all its 20 clubs. The letter from chief executive Richard Masters demanded the rebels 'walk away immediately before irreparable damage is done'. The Times says Masters told the six rebel clubs that continuing with this breakaway, would be a direct breach of Premier League rules. Sanctions could include expulsion or points deduction.   

In a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino and UEFA's Aleksander Ceferin seen by the PA news agency, the European Super League Company calls for cooperation but also reveals it has already taken legal action to try to head off the threat of clubs and players being banned from other competitions.

The letter reads: 'We are concerned that FIFA and UEFA may respond to this invitation letter by seeking to take punitive measures to exclude any participating club or player from their respective competitions.

'We hope that is not your response to this letter and that, like us, your organisations will recognise the immediate benefits of the competition established by SLCo.

'We also seek your cooperation and support on how the competition can be brought within the football ecosystem and work with us to achieve that objective.

'Your formal statement does, however, compel us to take protective steps to secure ourselves against such an adverse reaction, which would not only jeopardise the funding commitment under the grant but, significantly, would be unlawful.

'For this reason, SLCo has filed a motion before the relevant courts in order to ensure the seamless establishment and operation of the competition in accordance with applicable laws.'

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 Radio Four: '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.'

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.'

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. #TheGame'sGone'

Charlie Austin, who currently plays for QPR on loan from West Brom, has called for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday between Super League founding clubs Tottenham and Manchester City to be voided.

'Football as we know it in this country is going to be smashed to pieces,' he tweeted.

'These 6 clubs are a shambles and just proves this game is all about money to them! Void the league cup final Sunday!! Dock them all points and relegate them! No longer the working man's game!'

Sharing a hashtag encouraging a boycott of the Super League, former Chelsea and France forward Florent Malouda tweeted: 'Can't believe this is really happening, specially in those challenging times

'I support and trust (UEFA) to take the right decisions to protect the game we love. £Boycottsuperleague £UEFA #UefaChampionsLeague'

In an apparent reference to the Super League, Yannick Bolasie, who is on loan at Middlesbrough from Premier League club Everton, tweeted: 'Some real mercenaries...all values and history thrown out the window.'

In an announcement last night, the founding members of the European Super League will be  AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. 

The group said in a joint statement: 'Twelve of Europe's leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its founding clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.'

The statement added: 'Going forward, the founding clubs look forward to holding discussions with Uefa and Fifa to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole. The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the founding clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.' 

But the top clubs in Germany and France are yet to sign up. 

Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke has said his club are focused on Champions League reform, not a Super League.

'The members of the board of the European Club Association (ECA) got together for a virtual conference on Sunday evening and confirmed that the board decision of last Friday is still valid,' said Watzke on his club's website.

'This decision means that the clubs want to implement the planned reform of the UEFA Champions League. It was the clear opinion of the members of the ECA board that the plans to found a Super League were rejected.' 

Uefa, the football associations of England, Spain and Italy, plus the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A have also spoken out against the move.

Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: 'Shocked & stunned by this new Super League of the 'biggest & best' teams in Europe. How the hell have Arsenal managed to blag our way in?' 

He later continued: 'If you proceed with this arrogant elitist shameful Super League nonsense - then you can stick my 4 season tickets up your Arsenal.'

Fans from all six Premier League clubs involved have criticised their clubs planned participation in the competition.  

Fans have criticised the planned European Super League with a series of memes

Fans have criticised the planned European Super League with a series of memes 

Fans' groups, including those linked to Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea, have voiced their opposition to the clubs joining a super league.

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) put out a statement calling for club owners Enic to 'distance themselves from any rebel group'.

Labour leader and Arsenal fan Sir Keir Starmer said the clubs reportedly involved 'should rethink immediately' and added that a non-domestic league 'ignores' supporters.

'This proposal risks shutting the door on fans for good, reducing them to mere spectators and consumers,' he said on Twitter.

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust have described the proposal as 'the death of Arsenal of a sporting institution'.   

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who played for Barcelona and Tottenham said he predicts the Super League will 'die on its preposterous and avaricious a**e'. 

Shadow sports minister Alison McGovern - a Liverpool supporter - demanded the Government 'deliver on what they have promised: a proper, fan-led review of football governance'.

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: 'This is greed personified, ripping the heart out of the English game, leaving clubs up and down the country to suffer after an awful year.

'The consequences of these plans reach far and wide. The Government must step in to prevent a small number of greedy, rich owners destroying the game we all love.'    

Julian Knight, chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said a fan-led review with 'real teeth' should investigate the way football is run.

He said: 'This is a dark day for football - a deal done behind closed doors apparently with no regard for supporters.

'Though this idea was mooted several months ago, what's shocking is the speed at which this breakaway league has been announced.

'What's needed is a fan-led review of football with real teeth and here we have more evidence to strengthen the case for it.

'Football needs a reset, but this is not the way to do it. The interests of community clubs must be put at the heart of any future plans.

'We, the committee, will be discussing this when we meet tomorrow in a private session.'

Boris Johnson announced his opposition to the announcement on his Twitter feed
He said the clubs involved should listen to their fans before 'taking any further steps'

Boris Johnson announced his opposition to the announcement on his Twitter feed last night

In a statement, LaLiga said it 'strongly condemns the recently published proposal for a breakaway, elitist European competition that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid'.

The statement added that the plan 'destroys the dream' of any club, 'no matter the size', of succeeding.

LaLiga continued: 'The newly proposed top European competition is nothing more than a selfish, egotistical proposal designed to further enrich the already super rich. It will undermine the appeal of the whole game and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future of LaLiga, its member clubs, and all the entire footballing ecosystem.

'In addition, the breakaway league threatens the rest of Spanish sports to which, in the current season, LaLiga will contribute more than 126 million euros as part of its agreement with the Spanish government and the Spanish FA.

'This destruction of the European football ecosystem will also ultimately cause the failure of this new competition and its participating clubs, which have built their success based on the achievement of sports titles and triumphs, which will now be more limited.' 

Football fans' fury at 'greedy' American billionaires and banks trying to 'tear up the beautiful game' as Boris vows to BLOCK England's 'Big Six' clubs' bid to form new European Super League Football fans' fury at 'greedy' American billionaires and banks trying to 'tear up the beautiful game' as Boris vows to BLOCK England's 'Big Six' clubs' bid to form new European Super League Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:36 Rating: 5

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