European Super League: Minister warns Big Six clubs that plan is ‘biggest own goal in football history’

Sophia Sleigh,Nicholas Cecil and Joe Murphy
·3 min read
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (PA Archive)
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (PA Archive)

A cabinet minister today warned some of Europe’s top clubs to step back from what threatens to be “the biggest own goal in football history”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stressed the Government would do all in its power to scupper the proposed new European Super League, telling the Standard: “We will put everything on the table to stop this happening.

“I would urge these breakaway clubs to step back from what appears to be the biggest own goal in football history.”

Former England football captain David Beckham also hit out, saying “the game we love is in danger”.

The so-called Big Six of the English Premier League — Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United

and Manchester City — faced furious backlash after the unveiling of proposals for a breakaway tournament.

Boris Johnson held a virtual meeting today with football’s governing authorities and fans.

Alan Shearer says: ‘Ban them!’

'Ban them immediately if you can.’

Former England captain Alan Shearer said the six breakaway English clubs should be expelled from the Premier League.

The Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer told BBC Breakfast: “The Super League have chucked a grenade at the Premier League and chucked a grenade to everyone else. Well chuck one back.

“Ban them. Ban them immediately if you can. I’m sure they’ll look at every possible legal angle and what pressure they’re under in doing that. But if you can – do it – absolutely.”

He described the Super League as a “closed shop”, adding: “You can hear, feel and see the anger from almost everyone in football.”

“The Government stands resolutely against the proposals for a European Super League, and we must all work together to stop this,” he was expected to tell the gathering.

“They do not work for fans, for our football clubs and for communities.”

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch said the ESL move was the “catalyst” for now triggering a review into football’s governance which is expected to back more power for fans.

A Tottenham fan, Ms Crouch backed axing the Big Six from the Premier League if they press ahead with the ESL which is set to lead to lengthy court battles.

“Frankly I’d say kick them out,” she told Talk Radio.

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She stressed the ESL would be a “closed shop”, with no promotion or relegation, and that it was driven by “money” not the “spirit of football”.

She believes club bosses underestimated the “phenomenal backlash across Europe” to their plans.

David Beckham, who played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan — three of the 12 breakaway clubs — wrote on Instagram: “Our sport is nothing without the fans.

“We need football to be for everyone. We need football to be fair and we need competitions based on merit.”

Alan Shearer says: “Ban them!”Bongarts/Getty Images
Alan Shearer says: “Ban them!”Bongarts/Getty Images

Protests have erupted outside grounds around the country against the scheme put forward by the Big Six together with six leading Spanish and Italian clubs.

Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, was among those who voiced his dismay at the “damage” the plan would do to the national game.

Amid rumours that two of the English clubs may be reconsidering the move, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reiterated his own belief that a Super League is a bad idea while insisting neither he nor his players had been consulted by the club’s owners.

The Competition and Markets Authority has said it will be “carefully considering” the proposals to create a breakaway ESL. It is understood the Premier League has called its other 14 clubs to an emergency shareholders’ meeting today.

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