London – Several Premier League clubs on Tuesday denounced the plans for a breakaway competition after England’s ‘Big Six’ announced they are founding members of the Super League, with Everton leading the way by blasting their “preposterous arrogance”.
The proposals from 12 of Europe’s major clubs — including Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur — were met with widespread criticism.
The other 14 Premier League clubs met on Tuesday along with the English Football Association where they “unanimously and vigorously rejected” the plans and are considering action to bring the six clubs to account under its rules.
“Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs,” the Merseyside club said in a statement.
“Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests. Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game. Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table. Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond.
“At this time of national and international crisis – and a defining period for our game – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost.”
The new Super League would guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars a year in extra income to the teams involved. But fans and other teams say that would throw domestic leagues out of competitive balance and damage the sport.
Unlike the Champions League, open to any team that excels in domestic play, the original 12 Super League teams guaranteed themselves a place each year.
Everton, one of the founding members of the Football League who also helped form the Premier League, said the plans of the ‘Big Six’ appeared intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game.
“This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan,” Everton said.
Fellow Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion opposed the plans too, saying it would “destroy the dreams” of clubs at various levels and accused the breakaway teams of a “clear lack of respect”.
“These plans are the latest in an alarming and growing list of clandestine attempts from a small group of clubs whose actions would be wiping out close to 150 years of football’s tradition, competition, and sporting progress through merit,” it said.
Fulham chairman Shahid Khan said: “The concept will not serve the game or our most important stakeholders – the generations of fans in England and throughout Europe who have been as loyal to their domestic leagues, and the opportunities they offer, as they are faithful to their favourite team.”
Burnley chairman Alan Pace said the Super League is an example of why football governance in Europe needs to be reformed.
“Weak governance has led us to this point,” Pace said. “I’m calling on (Prime Minister) Boris Johnson and (sports minister) Oliver Dowden to follow their welcome intervention and now appoint an independent regulator to protect English football with legislation.”
West Bromwich Albion, another founding member of the Football League, said the six clubs had turned their backs on English football.
“Albion will do everything within its power to preserve the integrity of competition the club helped establish 133 years ago,” it said.
Wolverhampton Wanderers took a cheeky dig by updating their Twitter profile to say “Premier League Champions 2018/19” as they finished seventh in the league that season behind the Big Six, as if to say the six clubs had been expelled from the league.
“It’s probably too late for a parade,” Wolves said, with Southampton joining in by congratulating them, claiming they were the 2014/15 champions after finishing seventh too. — Reuters