Proposals for a breakaway European Super League have been condemned as “appalling” and “the ultimate betrayal” by supporter groups associated with the six English clubs involved.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and six other European sides have agreed to create a rival competition to the Champions League.
The controversial plans have sparked widespread criticism, including from fan groups, who are united in their opposition and feel the move is based on financial gain and “represents the death of everything that football should be about”.
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said it would demand answers to the “unforgivable” proposals.
“Our members and football supporters across the world have experienced the ultimate betrayal,” read the group’s statement.
“This is a decision of greed to line the pockets of those at the top and it has been made with no consideration for the loyal supporters, our history, our future or the future of football in this country.
“This is unforgivable. Enough is enough.”
Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly denounced the decision of US-based owner Fenway Sports Group (FSG), stating the club is “ours not theirs”.
“#Embarrassing as fan representatives we are appalled and completely oppose this decision,” read a statement on Twitter.
“FSG have ignored fans in their relentless and greedy pursuit of money. Football is ours not theirs. Our football club is ours not theirs.”
The group responsible for the vast majority of the flags on display at Anfield, Spion Kop, said it was removing the flags in protest.
“We, along with other groups involved in flags, will be removing our flags from The Kop. We feel we can no longer give our support to a club which puts financial greed above integrity of the game,” the group said.
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust and Arsenal Supporters’ Trust also called for the plans to be scrapped.
“A “Super League” based on a closed shop of self-selected wealthy clubs goes against everything football and Manchester United should stand for,” read a statement from the Manchester United group.
“We urge everyone included in this proposal including Manchester United to immediately withdraw from this proposal.”
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust said: “This represents the death of everything that football should be about.
“As fans we want to see Arsenal play in competitions based on sporting merit and competitive balance. The AST will do everything we can to oppose this.”
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST) warned the “future of our club is at stake”, while Manchester City’s Official Supporters Club felt the plans demonstrated “zero regard for the game’s traditions”.
“We call on ENIC (English National Investment Company), the temporary custodians of our great club, to distance themselves from any rebel group and to consider the implications fully before making decisions that will fundamentally change the course of history for Tottenham Hotspur forever,” read a THST statement.
“The future of our club is at stake.”
The statement from Manchester City’s Official Supporters Club, posted under an image of the Grim Reaper kicking a football, read: “This proposed new competition has no sporting merit and would seem to be motivated by greed.
“Furthermore it has been created without the knowledge or input of any supporters groups and once again shows those involved have zero regard for the game’s traditions .
“These owners, irrespective of where they come from, seem to think football belongs to them; it doesn’t it belongs to us – the supporters – irrespective of which team we support.”
All the groups are to collaborate over their “unified opposition” to the proposals.
“We are working urgently and closely with each other, and with the FSA (Football Supporters’ Association) and FSE (Football Supporters Europe), to fight these proposals,” said a joint statement.
“Despite our clubs’ behaviour, we are unified in opposition to them and we will continue to do all we can collectively to stop these plans.
“This includes seeking joint representation to the Government and all of the relevant football authorities.”