‘Seriously unimpressed’ Man Utd stars revolt against Big Six’s bid to form European Super League | Daily Mail Online
Mounting fury over plans by football’s ‘Big Six’ to create a new European Super League grew even further last night, with Prince William warning the proposals could ‘damage the game we love’ and Boris Johnson vowing to show them ‘the straight red card’.As outraged fans of the breakaway teams threatened to overthrow the billionaire owners of their clubs, and rival supporters set fire to their kits outside football grounds, the Prime Minister weighed in by branding the plans as ‘ludicrous’.In a comment piece for the Sun , the Conservative leader vowed ‘to do everything’ he could to stop the six rebel clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham – from pushing ahead with the £4.3billion project.Meanwhile, United’s superstar midfielder Bruno Fernandes last night became the first player from the breakaway clubs to publicly rally against the proposals, by sharing a social media post saying ‘Dreams can’t be bought’.Other players at the club made are said to have made their feelings known to executive vice chairman Ed Woodward as he delivered an emergency Zoom briefing at the club’s Carrington training ground yesterday.
It comes as a ‘nuclear war’ broke out in football over the proposals, which would see the six clubs become part of a group of a dozen elite European teams to compete in a tournament rivalling the current Champions League.The founding members of the proposed European Super League would be guaranteed a spot without qualification – a move which would all but end hopes of any club outside England’s top six playing in Europe’s most elite competition.
Arsenal fans were yesterday seen hanging signs calling for their owner to quit the club following the announcement, while Leeds United fans were seen burning a Liverpool shirt outside Elland Road – where the two sides played in the Premier League last night.
Earlier Prince William, who is the current president of the FA, spoke out against the European Super League project, saying it risked ‘damaging the game we love’.In a statement released through the Kensington Palace Twitter account, the Duke of Cambridge, who is due to speak to FA chiefs about the issue later this week, 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.’I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love.’ Players too made their feelings clear, with Leeds United stars wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the logo ‘football is for the fans’ before their Premier League clash with Liverpool.In a candid interview after the 1-1 draw, Liverpool midfielder James Milner broke ranks with his club’s plan to join the European Super League by saying: ‘I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen.’ The club’s Premier League and Champions League winning manager Jurgen Klopp also hinted he was against the proposals, telling Sky Sports before the game: ‘People are not happy with it, I can understand it.’I like the competitive aspect of football.I like that West Ham might play in the Champions League.
I don’t want them to, because we want to, but I like they have the chance.’ Last night the row heated-up even further amid reports that football chiefs were looking into the possibility of banning players from rebel clubs from playing for their national teams in tournaments such as the European Championships and the World Cup.And reports suggested bosses at Uefa were considering punishing rebel clubs Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester City by throwing them out of this season’s Champions League – despite them making up three of the four semi-finalists.However the breakaway clubs last night appeared to be standing firm, with reports suggesting they have already signed 23-year deals to compete in the new European Super League tournament, starting from the 2023-24 season.The row that threatens the most seismic change to English football in decades, came as: By Mike Keegan for SportsMail Ed Woodward held an emergency briefing with ‘seriously unimpressed’ Manchester United players at Carrington on Monday morning.
Sportsmail understands that some members of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad were angered after they found out about the breakaway European Super League – and their own employer’s central role in it – via the media on Sunday.Insiders have disclosed that some also felt Solskjaer was thrown under the bus when left to face questions from Sky after the story had broken during their 3-1 victory over Burnley on Sunday.
They made their feelings known and the executive vice chairman delivered a briefing via Zoom to explain the club’s position at their training base.Sources say the reception among many of the squad was ‘lukewarm at best’.Woodward, who recently moved to London from Manchester, is said to have told the squad they were acting in the club’s best interests.’Some of the players were seriously unimpressed,’ a source explained.
‘Not only that they were left to find out by the media about what had happened but that their manager was left to face the press when the owners had concocted this.’Woodward attempted to appease them but the response was lukewarm at best.It hasn’t gone down well with many of them.’ As the row raged on, United star Bruno Fernandes, 26, yesterday led the criticism from his team’s camp.The attacking midfielder shared an Instagram post by his Portuguese teammate Daniel Podence, who plays for Wolves, celebrating a goal for Olympiacos in the Champions League – a competition that would essentially be killed off by the new tournament.Podence also wrote an ode to Europe’s top club competition, referring to Manchester United and Liverpool’s recent historic wins and other great moments, with the caption: ‘There are some things we just can’t really pay for’.And in an act of defiance that may upset the American billionaire owners of Man United, the Glazers, who are among the architects of the new league, Bruno shared the post with clapping emojis and the phrase: ‘Dreams can’t be bought’.
The same post was also shared by Manchester City’s full back João Cancelo, who is also Portuguese, in a sign that there is also some anger among players at Pep Guardiola’s club, who are also signed up, as it was revealed that Uefa is working out how it can ban all players at the 12 clubs signed up from this summer’s European Championships and its president Aleksander Ceferin called the owners and their staff lying ‘snakes’.Speaking after an emergency meeting, Mr Ceferin said: ‘Uefa and the footballing world stand united against the disgraceful self-serving proposal we have seen in the last 24 hours from a select few clubs in Europe that are fuelled purely by greed.’The players who will play in the teams that might be playing in the closed league will be banned from playing the World Cup, and so they will not be able to represent the national teams at any matches.’Our sport has become greatest based on sporting merit and we cannot allow that to change, we will not ever.’ In another twist in the jaw-dropping saga, the Government last night also threatened to step in – with ministers vowing to do ‘whatever it takes to protect the national game’.Writing in the Sun, Boris Johnson said: ‘A year of empty stadiums has reminded us all that football without fans is an altogether more anaemic spectacle.
‘It is your game – and you can rest assured that I’m going to do everything I can to give this ludicrous plan a straight red.’ The Government had earlier announced the launch of a top-to-bottom review of football in the UK.By Sam Blitz for MailOnline Football fans attempted to block Liverpool’s team bus from arriving at Elland Road for their game against Leeds.Twelve clubs across Europe, including the Merseysiders owned by John W.Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, announced the launch of a breakaway tournament that would replace their European commitments with UEFA, such as the Champions League.And fans from both sides protested against the proposals before the game got underway.
Fans who could have been from either club ran in front of the bus as it was arriving to Elland Road in an attempt to block it from going to the stadium.Leeds and Liverpool also gathered together to hold up banners expressing their feelings on the prospect of a European Super League.Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was shocked after his players received abuse when they went out for a walk on Monday morning to prepare for a match that ended in a 1-1 draw.He was even more taken aback when arriving at the stadium with Leeds and Liverpool fans both venting their fury.
One fan even tried to physically push Liverpool’s team bus back while it was trundling on the approach to Elland Road and Klopp said that criticism aimed towards Liverpool had incited a toxic mood and he urged for emotions to be kept in check.’Leeds fans came here before the game and they were shouting at us, in the city when we had a walk this afternoon people were shouting at us.But we have nothing to do with it.’We are employees of the club and I feel responsible for a lot of things in this club.When I am involved in things then I take the criticism easily, when the boys are involved they have to take it and do that as well.
But we aren’t involved in this one.’ Ministers say the investigation, to be headed up by former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, will be a ‘root and branch’ reform of the governance and finances of football.This includes the possibility of an independent regulator for football – a move long called for by United legend Gary Neville – and a move to a German model where fans groups are the majority share holders.The announcement of the review came as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the Government will be offering its ‘full support’ to the Premier League, Football Association and Uefa.’Be in no doubt if they can’t act, we will.We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening, he told the Commons.And in a pointed threat to the clubs involved, he added: ‘We will do whatever it takes to protect our national game.’ One option being urged upon ministers is to impose a ban or further on incoming foreign transfers – a move which could seriously impact on the success of big teams.There is a feeling among English football’s key stakeholders that Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham shouldn’t be allowed to access foreign talent under new post-Brexit recruitment rules if the controversial new division is started.
But, despite the risk of sanctions, it appears the European Super League project has already green-lit, with teams having reportedly signed the contracts.According to the Times, a source close to the project said: ‘There are signed agreements — 23-year contracts.’This is categorically not a bargaining chip.’I can see why people might come to the conclusion but I am happy to correct it.This is proper, it’s happening.’ Meanwhile, the league has reportedly already signed up former Number 10 Press Secretary Katie Perrior to help with the PR strategy.Ms Perrior, who worked under Theresa May, is the founder ofiNHouse Communications, which has the contract to conduct PR for the Super League, according to the Times.The unrest in the Premier League came as expert lawyers told MailOnline that the rebel clubs still have a good chance of winning any blockbuster legal battle as football fans and former players turned on the ‘greedy’ mainly-foreign billionaire club owners.
Supporters have accused the mainly-foreign owners of ‘treachery’ and threatened to never watch them again after the £4.3billion plan bankrolled by JP Morgan emerged yesterday.
New European Super League president Florentino Perez insists the controversial breakaway league is necessary to save clubs in financial terms and is determined it will go ahead – whether Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich continue to refuse to join or not.The Real Madrid president was announced on Sunday in a similar role to his current post as the first chief of the new league, which involves Premier League ‘Big Six’ Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham replacing their European commitments with UEFA, such as the Champions League.Perez’s Madrid were joined by LaLiga rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid while Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan have also signed up, but German giants Bayern Munich and French counterparts PSG have insisted they will not be following suit.But speaking on El Chiringuito in Spain, the 74-year-old claimed the Super League was a necessary measure for all clubs including his own to combat the loss of income brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.And he insisted that it was ‘bulls***’ that it could be cancelled if other big sides refuse to eventually join, claiming football would be ‘dead’ in three years’ time under current competitions and models.’Many important clubs in Spain, Italy and the UK want to find a solution to a very bad financial situation,’ Perez said.’The only way is to play more competitive games.If instead of playing the Champions League, the Super League helps the clubs to recover the lost earnings.
Here at Real Madrid we’ve lost a lot of money, we are all going through a very bad situation.When there is no profit, the only way is to play more competitive games during the week.The Super League will save clubs financially.’PSG were not invited, as of today.We haven’t even spoken to German clubs.We are now 12 clubs, we want to become 15 clubs.If PSG and Bayern Munich refuse, the Super League competition will not be cancelled.This is bulls***.
‘Football must evolve like everything in life.Football has to adapt to the times we live in now.Football is losing interest from fans, TV rights are decreasing.We wanted to do the Super League, the pandemic has given us urgency, and right now we are all ruined in football.’Even in the Premier League, if the top clubs are economically stronger, all the other clubs will also become stronger.
It is a consequence.We want a dialogue with UEFA as we proposed in the Super League, we want to save football.’This Super League is not for the rich, but it’s to save football.If this continues, football will disappear and by 2024 we would already be dead.This is the only way to save everyone: big, medium and small clubs.’ Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward was an investment banker there before moving into football having helped the Glazers buy the club.Supporters of Liverpool, owned by American John W Henry, have put up banners outside Anfield including one announcing the death of the club while Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST) threatened to overthrow owner Joe Lewis and Chairman Daniel Levy.
Manchester City’s Official Supporters Club felt the plans demonstrated ‘zero regard for the game’s traditions’.One board member at one of the six Premier League clubs involved told Sky Sports News: ‘This is not a civil war, it’s a nuclear war.’There are several board members at the six clubs who are opposed to joining the new league but they feel they do not have the power to stop it’.He said that for the owners of the clubs, all of whom are based abroad, ‘are not that worried about (bad) PR’ and ‘the wider good of the game is a secondary concern’.
‘T hey don’t like giving their playing assets away to countries for very little financial reward’, the source said.
And while the backlash was a plenty from fans, players and ex-players alike, the move was seen in a positive light by stock brokers, with shares in the 12 clubs involved rocketing yesterday.Shares of Juventus soared by 20 per cent on the Milan stock exchange yesterday following the announcement, and the value of Manchester United shares also jumped 10 per cent on the New York stock exchange.And one football finance expert predicted the clubs involved could triple their income from European football by defecting to the new super league format.Clubs currently net around £100million in TV revenue and gate receipts from the Champions League.
But football finance expert Kieran Maguire told the Express that he believes the figure could be more like £300million for those in the European Super League – on top of a guaranteed £200million initial ‘welcome bonus’.He told the paper ‘The clubs believe they can sell the rights directly to the consumer.’It would be great news for something like MUTV where the only offerings are the Under-23s matches or news of Paul Pogba’s latest hair cut.’ However, the plans could yet backfire on the breakaway group, as the rebel clubs were threatened with expulsion from the Premier League and European competitions with their stars also potentially banned from playing for their countries.The UK Government is also 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.
Mark Orth, of MEOlaw based in Munich, believes the rebels will succeed if the row goes to court based on competition law and precedents set in previous cases in European courts.He said: ‘I am of the opinion they have a strong case.They have a good chance of winning.
‘There are good prospects for the start of the Super League and the clubs that take part’.Boris Johnson yesterday admitted that the English clubs involved could be compelled to pay back state-backed coronavirus loans and furlough money.STAN KROENKE – ARSENAL The 73-year-old American billionaire is heavily involved in sport as owner of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment with Premier League side Arsenal among the biggest guns in his portfolio.His company has been involved with the Gunners since 2007 and he took complete control three years ago.
Kroenke also owns elite-level American teams LA Rams (American Football), the Denver Nuggest (basketball), Colorado Avalanche (ice hockey) and the Colorado Rapids (football).Kroenke was able to navigate his way around NFL rules preventing ownership of teams in other markets by having the Avalanche and Nuggets in his wife’s name.Ann Walton is the daughter of Walton co-founder James Bud Walton.He also has the Colorado Mammoth team in the National Lacrosse League and, since 2017 has been involved in epsorts, owning teams in leagues for the video games Overwatch and Call of Duty.Despite his involvement in sports watched by millions Kroenke prefers to avoid the spotlight and has the nickname ‘Silent Stan.’ He is estimated to be worth around $10billion.JOHN W HENRY – LIVERPOOL John W Henry’s Fenway Sports group have owned Liverpool since 2010.They also own the Boston Red Sox (baseball), as well as having stakes in Roush Fenway Racing (NASCAR) and Minor League baseball team the Salem Red Sox.Henry, worth an estimated $3billion who is married to his wife Linda Pizutti (pictured together), made his money from trading company JW Henry and Co before buying the Red Sox with his partner Tom Werner – the Liverpool chairman.
Under their control in 2004 the Red Sox won a first World Series in 86 years.They also ended Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a championship when they lifted the Premier League last season.But they will now face serious questions from the Anfield supporters following last night’s news.ROMAN ABRAMOVICH – CHELSEA Abramovich and his billions arrived at Chelsea in 2003 and turned them into a Premier League giant.Since he took ownership of the club and invested heavily in big-name managers and players, they have won 16 major trophies, including five Premier League titles and the Champions League.Believed to be worth around $15billion, according to Forbes, Abramovich also owns stakes in steel company Evraz and Norilsk Nickel – a Russian mning company.A political figure in his homeland, he was governor of the Chukotka region and donated more than $2million to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure.The 53-year-old is known to have close relationships with former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and current president Vladimir Putin.
JOEL GLAZER – MAN UNITED Florida-based Glazer is part of the family who have controlled Manchester United since 2005.They also have NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.United have not won the Premier League since 2013 but during Glazer’s tenure have lifted 12 major prizes and, according to Deloitte, in 2021 are the world’s fourth richest club behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Barcelona with revenue of $580m.The Galzers’ money comes from their sporting empires and real estate across the US.They bought the Buccaneers for $192m in 1995 and it is now worth $3.1billion.
Likewise they took charge of United, according to Forbes, for $1.4bn with the club reported to be worth more than $3bn.JOE LEWIS – SPURS The 84-year-old Lewis is worth around £4billion, according to last year’s Times Rich List.Born in London he entered the family catering business at 15 but in the 1980s moved into currency trading.He is the major investor in Tavistock Group which owns more than 200 companies in 15 countries.The group formerly owned stakes in Scottish football team Rangers and Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic.Lewis lives in the Bahamas as a tax exile.He is reported to have an art collection worth an estimated $1billion.
SHEIKH MANSOUR – MANCHESTER CITY The money arrived at Manchester City in 2008 and with Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, pulling the purse strings, they never looked back.Cash was quickly pumped into every area – academy, training ground, playing staff, coaching – and City quickly caught up with, and overtook their neighbours.They have won four Premier Leagues in that time, look set for a fifth this season and are in the semi-final of the Champions League.The Abu Dhabi group is the majority owner of the City Football Group which boasts Man City as their flagship team.
They also have stakes in teams in the United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France.Speaking in Gloucester yesterday, 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.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 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’.
Meanwhile, players at the club are said to hit back at the proposals during an emergency meeting with Ed Woodward today.Woodward, who recently moved to London from Manchester, is said to have told the squad they were acting in the club’s best interests.’Some of the players were seriously unimpressed,’ a source explained.’Not only that they were left to find out by the media about what had happened but that their manager was left to face the press when the owners had concocted this.
‘Woodward attempted to appease them but the response was lukewarm at best.It hasn’t gone down well with many of them.’ The Premier League’s record goalscorer, Alan Shearer, meanwhile called for the league to retaliate against the proposals.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 last night 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.UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin reiterated on Monday that clubs and players involved in the proposed breakaway Super League could be banned ‘as soon as possible’ from all of its competitions and the World Cup.Addressing an emergency meeting the day after 12 of Europe’s top clubs announced the Super League, Ceferin launched a scathing attack on the plan, which has been widely condemned across the game and beyond.Ceferin refused to rule out that players could be banned from the Euros.When asked directly about when the ban would begin, he said: ‘I do not know when.’ He added: ‘We’re still assessing with our legal team but we will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon we can,’ he said.
‘My opinion is that as soon as possible they have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from all our competitions.’ Ceferin described the European Super League as ‘spit in the face’ for football and society – and said former European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli was ‘the biggest disappointment’.He added: ‘I do not want to be too personal, but I’ve never seen a person that would lie so many times, so persistently as he did.It’s unbelievable.’ He said the behaviour of the clubs behind the Super League plan was about ‘greediness, selfishness and narcissism’.Ceferin said he has spoken to Agnelli, who is also the president of Italian giants Juventus, on Saturday and was assured rumblings of a European Super League were just ‘rumours’.
The pair were due to speak within an hour, by Ceferin claims Agnelli switched off his phone.Ceferin also took aim at Manchester United’s Ed Woodward claiming he had already signed Manchester United up for the European Super League when he gave his support to Champions League reforms in a phone call last week.’I have seen many things in my life.I was a criminal lawyer.
I have never seen people like that,’ said Ceferin.’If I start with Ed Woodward, he called me last Thursday evening saying he’s very satisfied with and fully supports the reforms and the only thing he wants to talk about was Financial Fair Play, when obviously he had already signed something else.’ ‘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 on Sunday 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.The 12 rebel clubs pushing for a European Super League will immediately received hundreds of millions of pounds to spend on player and stadiums thanks to loans already agreed with JP Morgan.If it goes ahead the founders, at least half from America with involvement in the NFL, the clubs will be able to strike a new global TV deal that could eclipse the £3.6bn on secured by the Premier League.
They will also be able to shrink the pool of teams getting cash from the Champions League from over 100 clubs to just 20, with founding clubs sharing at least the first two-thirds of the new cash.When the league begins, clubs will immediately receive between £100million and £300million to spend on players, stadia and training facilities Under the terms of the proposed deal, it has emerged: ‘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 American billionaires pushing for the European Super League have been accused of trying to impose a NFL-style model.
Critics have said giving even more money to the big clubs, with billions set aside for players.It means that the 20 largely biggest clubs in Europe will have even more money than rivals to grab talent away from poorer clubs outside the Super League.Members will have a distinct advantage over the 100 or so clubs that used to be in the Champions League, which may not survive.But the Super League will be without a salary cap and drafting system, meaning the bigger clubs with the most money would likely keep winning every time.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’.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.European Super League clubs have a good chance of winning any legal battle with UEFA if football’s governing body tries to block plans for the breakaway competition, an expert has warned.
In response UEFA has said any participating clubs will be banned from domestic and European competition and players, who take part, would not be allowed to represent their countries.This could mean the Big Six in the Premier League, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal, may be booted out of the top flight if the plans proceed.An expert in sports competition law, Mark Orth, of MEOlaw based in Munich, has told Sportsmail he thinks the rebels will succeed if the row goes to court based on competition law and precedents set in previous cases.’I am of the opinion they have a strong case,’ said Orth, who has advised football clubs on this area of law.
‘The court is the right way to go.They have a good chance of winning.There are good prospects for the start of the Super League and the clubs that take part.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.’ 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.’ By Danyal Hussain and Martin Robinson for MailOnline The billionaire owners of England’s biggest football clubs have joined up with some of their European counterparts to create a new Super League that has sent shockwaves through the sport.
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.The European Super League plans also involve Spanish sides Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan.American investment bank JP Morgan, which included Jeffrey Epstein and Bernie Madoff as its clients, will give the clubs £4.3 billion in loans to get the competition started.Sponsors and investors are thought to have already been lined up by the bank to bring money into the league.Money seems to be the key driver of the new competition, with the club owners hailing from a range of ultra-wealthy backgrounds.
John W Henry, owner of Liverpool John W Henry, the 71-year-old owner of Liverpool, has an estimated wealth of $2.7bn.Alongside Liverpool, the American financier and investor also owns baseball side Boston Red Sox and the Boston Globe newspaper.His company, John W.Henry & Company, an investment management firm which he founded, also has stakes in Roush Fenway Racing (NASCAR) and Minor League baseball team the Salem Red Sox.Born to bean farmer parents in Quincy, Illinois, Henry started his venture into the world of finance by selling soybean assets known as ‘futures’.
He has been married twice – to first wife Peggy Sue between 1993 and 2008.The tycoon’s second wife is Linda Pizzuti, who is 30 years younger than him.His courtship of her was leaked by publications in Boston in 2009, the year they got married.
Henry is a father of three, and has two daughters with his first wife, as well as a son with Pizzuti.While learning his trade he tested a new type of trading technique which proved a success.He is now worth an estimated $3billion.Henry made his money from hedge funds and his trading company before buying the Red Sox with his partner Tom Werner – the Liverpool chairman.
Under their control in 2004 the Red Sox won a first World Series in 86 years.They also ended Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a championship when they lifted the Premier League last season.As of February 2021, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $2.8billion.
In 2016, he splashed out an eye-watering £68million on a new 215-foot super-yacht which can reportedly accommodate 12 overnight guest in a master suite, three double cabins and two twins, and up to 17 crew in separate quarters.Among the yacht’s most noteworthy features are an ornate fireplace in the main saloon, an infinity pool located aft of the main deck, an elevator, a spa center, a gym and a helipad located on the bow.Henry put his Florida mansion up for sale in 2018 for $25million before knocking off $10million a year later.
Dubbed the ‘House of Peace’, he bought the six-acre plot in 1991 for $850,000 (£646,000) so stands to make an astonishing profit despite his price-cut.It is unclear if the mansion has been sold since.The property, based in the Le Lac neighbourhood in Boca Raton and has seven bedrooms and 14.5 bathrooms across 27,832 square feet.On the main level, there’s a foyer with a sweeping staircase and a two-story living room.
Elsewhere, there is a home cinema, a sports bar, a library with cherry wood walls, a gym, a loft with card tables, an underground wine cellar and a recording studio.There is also a swimming pool with cabana seating, an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, a clay tennis court and a pair of motor courts.
Henry was briefly portrayed in the 2011 film Moneyball, which follows Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and his quest to build a winning team in 2002.Beane turns down an offer from Henry to become the new GM of the Red Sox but the team goes on to win the 2004 World Series by implementing many of his ideas.In one email sent to her after watching a Boston Celtics NBA match, he wrote: ‘A brief encounter-and-a-half with you gave a cool spin to this little blue planet from my vantage point.’I barely know you.
I don’t have any illusions about capturing your heart.
It’s the small things that ultimately matter.The subtle things.I am honest.
I don’t play games.’And I see no reason not to say that I’ve been smitten by you and you’ve done me a great service.You’ve very innocently made my world brighter, better, lighter and warmer.’ Pizzuti, the daughter of two Italian migrants, has a Masters degree in real estate development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she graduated from at the age of 26.
She served as the managing director of the Boston Globe for seven years before being appointed chief executive officer of Boston Globe Media Partners last year.
Henry has been married three times, firstly to Mai Henry, though little is known about their relationship.He was married to his second wife Peggy Sue Henry for 15 years, between 1993 and 2008.The pair have two daughters together.Henry and his current wife Puzzti have one son together.
Stan Kroenke, owner of Arsenal Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke has been involved with the Gunners since 2007 and took complete control three years ago.The billionaire, 73, also owns NFL team LA Rams, NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the Colorado Rapids from the MLS.He also has the Colorado Mammoth team in the National Lacrosse League and, since 2017 has been involved in esports, owning teams in leagues for the video games Overwatch and Call of Duty.From comparatively humble beginnings, his father was the owner of Mora Lumber Company in Mora, Missouri.
Stan is said to have worked sweeping floors for his father from a young age, before helping with the bookkeeping aged 10.
However, it was his marriage which propelled him to riches.Ann Walton, who he married in 1974, is the daughter of Walmart co-founder James Bud Walton and was heir to his vast fortune.The couple have four children, including son Josh, 40, who is president of the Denver Nuggets basketball team.
Daughter Whitney, 43, is a film producer and philanthropist.Kroenke has another son, named Brett, as well as a daughter named Katie.
He founded the Kroenke Group in 1983, a real estate development firm that specialised in building shopping centres – many near Walmart stores.When his father-in-law Bud Walton died in 1995, Kroenke inherited a stake in Walmart Stores Inc, which was worth $4.8billion as of September 2015.Kroenke is thought to be worth £7billion.The couple have at least two children together, Josh and Whitney Ann.His son Josh is president and governor of the Denver Nuggets basketball franchise, President and Governor of the Colorado Avalanche ice hockey franchise, and Alternate Governor for the Colorado Rapids soccer franchise.The company also co-owns Elitch Gardens Theme Park.In 2013, he was appointed by his father to the board of Arsenal as a non-executive director.
Daughter Whitney is a film producer, and philanthropist.Kronke’s career in sports team management has not been without controversy.He got around NFL rules preventing the ownership of other sports teams by having the Avalanche and Nuggets in his wife’s name – much to the anger of his rival owners.
News of the Super League enraged fans of Arsenal – but it is not the first time Kroenke has drawn the anger of the supporters of his teams.In 2015, he moved his Rams American Football team from St Louis, where it had been based since 1994, to California.The relocation drew anger from fans and even led to a lawsuit against the team and Kroenke from the city of St Louis.His relationship with Arsenal fans has also been a stormy one, with supporters of the North London club accusing him of ignoring the club by not investing money into it.Frequent protests have been carried out against him and fans have accused him of lacking ambition for a team once considered the best in the country.
Despite his involvement in sports watched by millions Kroenke prefers to avoid the spotlight and has the nickname ‘Silent Stan.’ Away from sport, Kroenke is a major landowner, with nearly 1.4 million acres of ranches across the U.S.
and Canada.Kroenke also owns around 30 million square feet of real estate, with much of it in the form of shopping plazas near Walmart stores.In 2016, he bought a ranch of 520,000 acres in Texas, worth £520 million, which helped make him one of the top ten landowners in the US.In 2017, he was slammed for launching an outdoor sports TV channel in the UK, which scheduled regular bloodsports and hunting programs, including the killing of elephants, lions, and other endangered African species.Joel Glazer and the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United Florida-based Joel Glazer, 50, is part of the family who have controlled Manchester United since 2005, when it was bought by the now late businessman Martin Glazer.
The family also own the NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the recent Super Bowl Champions.United have not won the Premier League since 2013 but during Glazer’s tenure have lifted 12 major prizes and, according to Deloitte, in 2021 are the world’s fourth richest club behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich with revenue of $580m.The Glazers’ money comes from their sporting empires and real estate across the US.They bought the Buccaneers for $192m in 1995 and it is now worth $3.1billion.
Joel is married to Angela, and the couple are parents to a son and daughter named Dylan and Zoey.The team, led by legendary quarterback Tom Brady, beat the New England Patriots in the most recent Super Bowl.Likewise they took charge of United, according to Forbes, for $1.4bn with the club reported to be worth more than $3bn.
The family owns First Allied Corporation, an American real-estate holding company that owns and rents out shopping malls across the United States.The company owns over 6.7 million square feet of shopping center space across 20 states, including California, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, New York and New Jersey.After Malcolm Glazer died in May 2014, his vast $4billion fortune was shared among his children, including Joel – who is now the executive co-chairman and director.Joel studied Interdisciplinary Studies at the American University in Washington D.C before taking the reigns of his father’s company.He has a wife, Angela Glazer, as well as two daughters, Dylan and Zoey Glazer.Siblings Bryan, Kevin, Darcie and Edward are all on the board of directors.Earlier this year it was reported that Avram Glazer had put his shares worth more than £70million up for sale and he is no longer listed as a board member.
The Glazer family takeover was controversial with supporters who hit out at the debt the club would be forced to take on as part of the deal.The majority of the capital used by the Glazers to purchase Manchester United came in the form of loans, the majority of which were secured against the club’s assets, incurring interest payments of over £60 million per annum.The remainder came in the form of payment in kind loans, which were later sold to hedge funds.Net debt at the club is at over £450 million while the Glazer family have taken hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends over the years.Furious fans launched FC United of Manchester in 2005, which entered the North West Counties Football League and played in the sixth tier National League North from 2015 to 2019.Since 2005, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust has been working on a way of returning ownership of the club to supporters.The Glazers have seen frequent protests against their ownership of the club and in 2010, a group of wealthy Manchester United fans, dubbed the ‘Red Knights’, discussed a billion-pound takeover bid.
However, the bid fell through when the Red Knights refused to meet the Glazers’ valuation of the club.At his death in May 2014 at 85, Malcolm Glazer lived in a Palm Beach oceanfront house on the stretch of South Ocean Boulevard known to locals as Billionaires Row.With ties to Rochester, New York, the Glazers bought the house in 1989, and Linda Glazer still uses it as her primary residence, property records show.Roman Abramovich, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was seen as the original billionaire football owner when he arrived at Chelsea in 2003 and transformed the team from outside challengers to a Premier League giant.
Since he took ownership of the club and invested heavily in big-name managers and players, they have won 16 major trophies, including five Premier League titles and the Champions League.Believed to be worth around $15billion, according to Forbes, Abramovich also owns stakes in steel company Evraz and Norilsk Nickel – a Russian mining company.A political figure in his homeland, he was governor of the Chukotka region and donated more than $2million to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure.The 53-year-old Russian-Israeli businessman is known to have close relationships with former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and current president Vladimir Putin.
In fact, it is believed that Abramovich was the first person to recommend Putin for president.According to Forbes, Abramovich’s net worth was $12.9billion in 2019, which makes him the richest person in Israel, 10th-richest in Russia, and the 113th richest in the world.His British property empire is worth more than £200million and includes a 15-bedroom mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens that is believed to be now worth £125 million.The portfolio includes a flat in Cheyne Terrace, Chelsea, which was purchased for £8.75million in 2017 and includes a high-tech temperature-controlled wine cellar.It is close to three other properties that overlook the Thames, bought for £25million, that he had once intended to knock together and turn into a £100million super-home.However Abramovich, who made his money selling assets acquired from the state following the fall of the Soviet Union, scrapped the plan and sold up after he relented to local uproar.
Abramovich became an Israeli citizen in 2018 after his British visa expired and reportedly owns most of the properties through a holding company called Fordstam And land registry records show that since the expiration of his visa he transferred 11 properties to the business.The empire also includes a £22million three-storey penthouse, bought in 2018, at the Chelsea Waterfront which was completed after his visa expired and the purchase was made in his name.Meanwhile the Kensington mansion, which cost a staggering £90million, is part of what is known as ‘billionaire’s row’.The desirable postcode is also home to steel magnate Lakshmi Mitta and billionaire business magnate Wang Jianlin.
Abramovich has become the world’s greatest spender on luxury yachts, and maintains a fleet of yachts dubbed ‘Abramovich’s Navy’.His 162.5m yacht, named ‘Eclipse’, is one of the many stunning gems within his fortune.It can accomodate 36 guests in 18 cabins and boasts a cinema, conference facilities, children’s playroom, beauty salon, dance floor, two swimming pools, sauna and even a missile defence system.
Abramovich has begun building a ‘megamansion’ in New York, having purchased four Upper East Side townhouses in Manhattan for $74 million.The combined property will be 19,400 square feet, and it is estimated that renovation costs will be an additional $100 million.Russia’s most prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny, 44, has called for the freezing of the Chelsea football club owner’s assets over his poisoning and arrest.
Abramovich has been married and divorced three times.In December 1987, following a brief stint in the Soviet Army, he married Olga Yurevna Lysova.They divorced in 1990.In October 1991, he married a former Russian Aeroflot stewardess, Irina Malandina.
They have five children, Ilya, Arina, Sofia, Arkadiy and Anna.Abramovich married Dasha Zhukova, daughter of a prominent Russian oligarch, Alexander Zhukov in 2008, and they have two children, a son, Aaron Alexander, and a daughter, Leah Lou.In August 2017, the couple announced that they would separate and their divorce was finalised in 2018 Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of Manchester City The money arrived at Manchester City in 2008 and with Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, pulling the purse strings, they never looked back.Cash was quickly pumped into every area – academy, training ground, playing staff, coaching – and City quickly caught up with, and overtook their neighbours and rivals Manchester United.
They have won four Premier Leagues in that time, look set for a fifth this season and are in the semi-final of the Champions League.The Abu Dhabi group is the majority owner of the City Football Group which boasts Man City as their flagship team.They also have stakes in teams in the United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France.
Sheikh Mansour, 50, is the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, minister of presidential affairs and member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi.He is the half brother of the current President of UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.Mansour also owns stakes in a number of business ventures, including Virgin Galactic and Sky News Arabia.
Mansour is the owner of the yacht Topaz, which is worth around £400 million.He gave control of Manchester City over to Khaldoon Al Mubarak, 46, one of the royal family’s most trusted advisers.
Khaldoon’s father was the former UAE diplomat and ambassador to France, Khalifa Ahmed Abdulaziz Al-Mubarak, who was assassinated in Paris in 1984.Manchester City has faced widespread condemnation for its Abu Dhabi backing.Though the club has denied being funded by the UAE government directly, Sheikh Mansour retains control of the club.A 2017-18 report Amnesty condemned the UAE for unfair trials, lack of freedom of expression, a failure to investigate allegations of torture, discrimination against women and the abuse of migrant workers.JOE LEWIS, OWNER OF TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis, 84, is worth around £4billion, according to last year’s Times Rich List.Born in London he entered the family catering business at 15 but in the 1980s moved into currency trading.
He is the major investor in Tavistock Group which owns more than 200 companies in 15 countries.The group formerly owned stakes in Scottish football team Rangers and Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic.
Lewis lives in the Bahamas as a tax exile.Lewis is also the largest shareholder in the British pub group Mitchells & Butlers.He has a variety of other investments, including luxury club resorts, restaurants, hotels and an Australian agriculture firm.Lewis also owns the Lake Nona development near Orlando, one of the fastest growing communities in the USA.
The Tottenham owner’s art collection is estimated to be worth $1 billion and includes works by Picasso, Matisse, Lucian Freud, and sculptor Henry Moore.Lewis bought Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1974–1977 in 2008 for £26.3 million, then a record for postwar artwork bought in Europe.In November 2018 Lewis sold his ‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)’ by David Hockney in Christie’s salesroom for $90.3 million.JP Morgan, US firm bankrolling the super league JP Morgan was among the group of big American investment banks blamed for triggering the financial crisis just over a decade ago – and was eventually ordered to pay a then-record $13 billion fine – about £10 billion – in 2013 for misleading investors in the years leading up to the meltdown.
Coincidentally, 2013 was also the year the bank finally parted company with one of its most notorious clients, paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.Bank insiders have claimed that concerns were raised about Epstein – a friend of Prince Andrew – after the financier was charged with sex crimes and pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008.
Yet he remained a JP Morgan client for another five years.One theory of why the disgraced American – who died in jail last year – was kept on in the face of increasingly lurid allegations was his value to JP Morgan.
Epstein is said to have arranged business introductions for one of his contacts at the bank, Jes Staley, the head of private banking who would later become chief executive of Barclays bank in Britain.The Mail on Sunday revealed in 2015 that Epstein lobbied for Staley to secure the top job at Barclays after 34 years at JP Morgan.Staley has said he had no knowledge of Epstein’s illegal activities and Barclays has denied its directors were approached by Epstein.Among JP Morgan’s other notable former clients is Bernie Madoff – the fraudster behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.
According to court documents made public in 2011, senior JP Morgan executives had started to doubt the legitimacy of Madoff’s investment activities but continued to do business with him.JP Morgan eventually paid a $2.5 billion fine for failing for two decades to report Madoff’s suspicious dealings.He was jailed for stealing from wealthy investors – including a number of celebrities – over more than 20 years.Losses from the scheme are said to have hit $17 billion.
JP Morgan admitted it could have done a better job of handling concerns about Madoff’s activities but said no employee knowingly assisted with the fraud.At the helm of the bank through the good times and the bad has been highly regarded chief executive Jamie Dimon.
Since taking the top job in 2005 he has become known as The King of Wall Street, raking in $298.8 million in pay and perks.The 63-year-old became the best-paid banking chief for a fifth year in a row by scooping more than £24 million.He is credited with steering JP Morgan through the financial crisis to become the most profitable bank in the US today.Nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’ at private school in New York – ostensibly for his prowess on the sports field – he has an MBA from Harvard, where he met his wife, Judy.They married in 1983 and have three grown-up daughters – Julia, Laura and Kara.It’s fair to say Dimon hasn’t struggled to find ways to spend the wealth he has accrued since his university days.As well as a home on Park Avenue, one of New York’s most prestigious addresses, he and Judy escape in the summer months to their 34-acre country home about an hour’s drive north from central Manhattan.
The 9,600 sq ft 1930s mansion nestles in woodland near the town of Bedford, where other wealthy homeowners include former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor Michael Douglas.Dimon bought the summer retreat in 2007 for a reported $17 million.His style of management is said to be fierce.
It has been claimed he likes to punch the air when he raises his voice to berate staff and carries a crumpled piece of paper containing the names of ‘the people who owe me stuff’.His tight grip on JP Morgan has not stopped the bank coughing up more than $31 billion in regulatory fines since the 2008 crisis for offences ranging from manipulating energy markets to accusations of racial discrimination.In January 2017, JP Morgan agreed a $55 million settlement over allegations that it charged black and Hispanic mortgage borrowers higher rates than its white customers.It denied the accusations, made by the US Justice Department, but agreed to settle.
JP Morgan has also issued a grovelling apology and paid millions of dollars in reparations for historic links to the slave trade.In 2005, it admitted that two Louisiana banks that were later absorbed into the company once held 13,000 slaves as collateral and owned 1,250 slaves.JP Morgan’s London office reported a $2billion trading loss in 2012 that was traced to big bets taken by a group of traders led by Bruno Iksil, known as the London Whale.Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid Unlike many of their European rivals, reigning LaLiga champions Real Madrid are still fan-owned with around 90,000 fan investors, known as Socios, owning stakes.
Current president Florentino Perez made his fortune in civil engineering and construction and will be the first chairman of the European Super League.A former politician, Perez’s background has been the vice-president of Grupo ACS since the company was formed in 1997, and is also the majority owner with 12.8 per cent of the shares in his name.Perez actually failed in his first attempt to take control of operations in Madrid, failing with a presidential bid in 1995 as he lost to Ramon Mendoza, who would soon depart.Come 2000, Perez sought to take advantage of Real’s poor financial standing and promised a series of world class signings – including Barcelona’s Luis Figo – during his campaign.
He scooped 94.2 per cent of the vote and then delivered on his promise by acquiring Figo from their greatest rival for a then world record fee.
Real are worth $3.6 billion according to Forbes, with Perez’s worth standing at $2 billion (£1.53m) Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Juventus Juventus have been majority-owned, almost continuously, by the Agnelli family since 1923.The family own around two thirds of the Turin team, with US fund manager Lindsell Train owning around 11 per cent and the rest owned by other investors in the stock market-listed business.In February, Juventus said it had suffered a loss of 113.7million euros (£98million) and expected to lose more money in the second half of the season amid coronavirus restrictions.The club’s share price jumped by more than 14 per cent on Monday morning as investors welcomed news of the Super League.The Agnelli family are descendants of Italian royalty and own the Fiat conglomerate with several car brands including Ferrari under their control.
The family has sometimes been described in the English-speaking world as ‘the Kennedys of Italy’ for their role in the country’s contemporary history and their activity of patronage in modern art and in sports.As of 2020, the extended Agnelli family comprised about two hundred members.
Most members of the family are stakeholders in privately owned Giovanni Agnelli B.V., which in turn has a controlling stake in the publicly listed holding company Exor.In 2019.Exor recorded revenues of $144 billion, making it the 28th largest group in the world by revenue.
It has a history of investments running over a century, which notably include global reinsurer PartnerRe and the international newspaper The Economist, as well as their football and motor assets.Elliot Management, hedge fund owners of AC Milan Elliott Management, a $42billion hedge fund, has complete control of AC Milan after taking over the club in 2018 and has invested more than $600million.
Elliott has said it will invest another $1.2billion to finance a new stadium to replace the San Siro in a build which has placed further pressure on club finances.The firm has invested in eBay, AT&T, SoftBank, SAP and Twitter since 2019.Elliott, founded by billionaire Paul Singer, was famous for buying and selling small companies and its track record gave Singer a reputation among CEOs and board members as the world’s most feared investor.Former AthenaHealth CEO Jonathan Bush, whose company was targeted by Elliott in 2017, described doing research on Elliott as ‘googling this thing on your arm and it says, ‘You’re going to die.’ The New Yorker called Singer a ‘doomsday investor,’ highlighting a series of unflattering tactics taken by his company.In 1996, Singer began using the strategy of purchasing sovereign debt from nations in or near default, such as Argentina and Peru through his NML Capital Limited.He did the same to the Republic of the Congo through Kensington International Inc.Singer’s practice of purchasing debt from companies and sovereign states and pursuing full payment through the courts has led to criticism.
However, he described his tactic as ‘a fight against charlatans who refuse to play by the market’s rules’, and supporters of the practice have said it ‘help keep kleptocratic governments in check.’ In 2020 Singer ranked 222 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, 538 among the world’s billionaires, and the 19th highest earning hedge fund manager.Suning, the Chinese firm that owns Inter Milan City rivals Inter are in a far more uncertain position amid reports that Chinese owner Suning is in talks with private equity investors over a sale of the club.In February, Suning confirmed that reigning Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC, which it also owns, would fold amid financial trouble.Last month, it was reported that US fund Fortress was in talks over a takeover for Inter but no deal has yet been confirmed.Confirmation that Inter would be included in any Super League could bump up the valuation of the Serie A club.Suning is one of the largest non-government retailers in China.The company has more than 1600 stores covering over 700 cities of China and Japan and its e-commerce platform, Suning.com ranks among top three Chinese B2C companies.
The company works in categories that include physical merchandise, such as home appliances, 3C products, books, general merchandise, household commodities, cosmetics and baby care products, content products and service merchandise.
It was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2004.Barcelona, fan owned Barcelona are another of LaLiga’s four member-owned clubs, having been set up under the model in 1899.Over 144,000 fans pay membership every year and have shareholder votes on major decisions.
Last month, Joan Laporta was elected for a second spell as club president.Miguel Angel Gil Marin, majority owner of Athletico Madrid Atletico Madrid are majority-owned by Spanish millionaire Miguel Angel Gil Marin, who first became chief executive at the club in 1993 after investment from his father.Mr Gil Marin, who made his from horse and bull breeding, currently owns a stake of around 52 per cent.Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer owns around a third of the club after buying out Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group in 2018.The JP Morgan connection: Manchester United chief exec Ed Woodward worked for US bank hoping to turn £4.3billion loans into European super league TV rights windfall Manchester United’s controversial chief executive Ed Woodward has been revealed as one of the main drivers of the new European Super League .
The club is one of six of England’s biggest who have pledged to join the much derided breakaway league, which has been accused of threatening the soul of the game.The league is being financed by JP Morgan, which will give the clubs £4.3 billion in loans as start-up.Woodward, who was appointed chief executive of Manchester United in 2013, previously worked at the US investment bank in the mergers and acquisitions department before helping the Glazer family in its controversial takeover of the club in 2005.The family were so impressed by him that they recruited him and they, together with Woodward and his old banking firm, are driving the new super league that has been widely condemned by outraged fans, players and politicians.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin branded Woodward a ‘snake’ in an explosive press conference about the new Super League today.He added that he ‘didn’t expect snakes in the grass so close to us’ in a remarkable discussion of the plans.Ceferin said Woodward had already signed Manchester United up for the Super League when he gave his support to Champions League reforms in a phone call last week.’I have seen many things in my life.
I was a criminal lawyer.I have never seen people like that,’ said Ceferin.’If I start with Ed Woodward, he called me last Thursday evening saying he’s very satisfied with and fully supports the reforms and the only thing he wants to talk about was Financial Fair Play, when obviously he had already signed something else.’ Woodward stepped down from UEFA this afternoon after news of the super league emerged.It is sure to raise more pressure on a figure who is extremely unpopular with Manchester United fans.Woodward rose to his current role after the retirements of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill and has overseen a controversial tenure in the years since.In November, Woodward told supporters at a fans’ forum: ‘We are at the centre of discussions about European club competitions.
What I can assure you of is that we will keep match-going fans firmly in the centre of thoughts.’ However, despite this promise, Woodward failed to mention the new super league in a meeting with fans on Friday, just days before news of the plans broke.Woodward has been blamed for the club’s under-performance in recent years, with fans rounding on him as the face of the Glazer family.
A group of furious Manchester United supporters launched fireworks and a smoke bomb at the under-fire chief executive’s £2million Cheshire mansion last year.A mob of around 20 balaclava-clad supporters – some who are understood to be members of United’s notorious ‘Men In Black’ hooligan firm – launched an attack on Woodward’s luxurious Cheshire mansion near Knutsford, in which he lives with his wife, Isabelle, and two very young twin daughters.He is the highest-earning director in the league and raked in £3.09million in 2019-20.Woodward has often won praise for his commercial success with United.
Under his command, the club have endorsed a wide range of products around the world, including soft drinks in Nigeria, nutritional supplements in Japan and mattresses in Asia.It has also endorsed watches, hair grooming companies and betting firms in a policy copied by many top-flight clubs.However, despite the commercial success, the team has struggled to win on the pitch, having not won the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.This has led to accusations from fans that Woodward and the Glazers put too much emphasis on the money side of the game, an argument strengthened by United’s ballooning debt under the current ownership.
Net debt at the club is at over £450 million while the Glazer family have taken hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends over the years.The intervening years have strengthened anger at the Glazer takeover after supporters hit out at the debt the club was forced to take on as part of the deal.
The majority of the capital used by the Glazers to purchase Manchester United came in the form of loans, the majority of which were secured against the club’s assets, incurring interest payments of over £60 million per annum.The remainder came in the form of payment in kind loans, which were later sold to hedge funds.Furious fans launched F.C.United of Manchester in 2005, which entered the North West Counties Football League and played in the sixth tier National League North from 2015 to 2019.Since 2005, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust has been working on a way of returning ownership of the club to supporters.The Glazers have seen frequent protests against their ownership of the club and in 2010, a group of wealthy Manchester United fans, dubbed the ‘Red Knights’, discussed a billion-pound takeover bid.
However, the bid fell through when the Red Knights refused to meet the Glazers’ valuation of the club.News of the super league, and Woodward’s starring role in the proposals, is sure to anger more Manchester United supporters.The Financial Times reported that JP Morgan will charge an interest rate of 2% to 3% on the money it has lent to clubs.
Tim Bridge, a director at Deloitte, which produces an annual report on the finances of football, said the funding deal was ‘one of the biggest ever’ and ‘a pretty seismic shift.’ JPMorgan is America’s biggest bank, with assets of over $3 trillion.Its business covers everything from retail banking under its Chase brand to investment banking and corporate lending.BT Sport savage plans for a European Super League but Sky REFUSE to comment on whether they are in talks to screen it – with Disney, and Facebook all rumoured to be involved in early talks BT Sport have strongly condemned plans for a European Super League because it will have a ‘damaging effect’ on football – but Sky have refused to comment on the bombshell proposals.Audacious plans for a new breakaway competition including 20 teams – 15 with a guaranteed place – battling it out midweek would be in direct opposition to existing UEFA tournaments, like the Champions League .The bombshell proposals have been met with a wave of protest from football authorities, politicians, governments and fans with UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, describing them as a ‘spit in the face’ for football and those clubs involved as ‘snakes’.
But while there is a £3.03 billion investment fund secured via JP Morgan, and a team of lawyers in place to pursue the fledgling league’s interests through the courts, no broadcaster has been publicly linked to the controversial scheme.BT Sport have firmly ruled themselves out, DAZN initially appeared to be a partner but then distanced themselves from the project and Sportsmail understands Amazon is not, and has not been involved.According to the Financial Times, the Super League’s organisers are seeking £3.4 billion per year in revenue to screen the matches and it has held early talks with Facebook, Disney and Comcast-owned Sky, it’s claimed.Sky has refused to comment on questions on the subject from Sportsmail and we are awaiting a response from Disney..
The figure is based on a sales pitch that offers 200 games-a-year between Europe’s top teams.In a post on Twitter, BT said: ‘BT recognises the concerns raised by many of football’s leading voices and fans, and believes the formation of a European Super League could have a damaging effect to the long-term health of football in this country.’As a sport broadcaster showing Premier League, UEFA club football and National League football as well as being lead partner for all the Home Nations football teams, we strongly believe that football makes a significant positive contribution to people’s lives at every level, and this needs to be protected.’ Yesterday, a report in Italy’s Corriere dello Sport claimed that sports streaming service DAZN, which is owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, had been working on the formation of the league.
The Italian paper claimed the streamer was willing to pay $3.5BN for the TV rights to the European Super League, if it goes ahead.However, in a statement to the website Deadline , DAZN firmly rejected the report: ‘In relation to a report by Corriere dello Sport today, this and related reports are false.Neither DAZN nor Mr.
Blavatnik are in any way involved or interested in entering into discussions regarding the establishment of a Super League and no conversations have taken place.’ There is also the possibility that the so-called 15 ‘founder members’ of the Super League would seek to take control over at least some of the media rights themselves, in order to screen their own games.Industry insiders have speculated this could be one use of the infrastructure investment secured, which will be worth up to £310 million per club.Negotiations over the management of the Champions League are believed to have have centred on this and other rights issues in recent weeks as Ceferin sought to secure agreement from the European Clubs Association over changes to the competition format.Ceferin was negotiating with the then European Club Association chairman, Andrea Agnelli.Agnelli, who is also the Juventus chairman, is now the vice president of the Super League.
‘The clubs could get control, it makes sense, as much as any of it makes sense,’ said one industry source.The Premier League’s furious 14 outcasts will hold emergency talks on Tuesday to discuss their next move following the announcement of plans to launch a European Super League.Liverpool , Manchester City , Manchester United, Arsenal , Chelsea and Tottenham have all given notice of their intention to be founding members of the controversial new league, effectively leaving the future of the Premier League under huge uncertainty.And Sportsmail can reveal that the remaining clubs are due to hold crisis talks tomorrow to formulate a plan of action.The meeting will provide all clubs with an opportunity to have their say on the news that has rocked English football to its core over the past 24 hours.There are said to be varying degrees of anger amongst the 14 clubs who have been left in the lurch by the ‘big six’.
Those towards the upper reaches of the league – the likes of Everton and Aston Villa – are said to be fuming at the developments.Both clubs have the budget and aspiration to break into European football – but there are now concerns about their appetite to fulfil those ambitions if UEFA competitions are devalued.One source said: ‘Why would those clubs banging the door down to get into Europe continue to invest in the squad? What would be the point?’ The news will have less impact on those towards the lower reaches of the Premier League, whose sole aim is to stay in top-flight every season.However, there is a huge fear among all 14 clubs that the level of broadcasting cash that is pumped into the game from networks such as Sky and BT Sport will plummet if the breakaway league comes to fruition.Broadcasting rights deals are worth millions of pounds to clubs but there is huge concern that TV companies will not be prepared to pay the level of money they are paying at the moment if the current format is changed.European football is at war after 12 clubs signed up to a breakaway Super League.So is it REALLY going to happen? How will it work? When will it start? Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know on a move that could change the game forever So, what exactly is the European Super League? Well, let’s start with the simple opening paragraph of the statement that confirmed the news on Sunday night and sent shockwaves through the sport and well beyond.
‘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.’ Those ‘Founding Clubs’ are, as mentioned above, led by the biggest six clubs in English football: Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.Add to that arguably the two biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and a third from Spain – Atletico Madrid.Then there’s Italy’s three giants: Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.But what about the rest of Europe’s big clubs? Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are understood to have rejected the idea, although the plan is to expand the league to 15 founding members, with a further five annual qualifiers – but no relegation for the big founding clubs, even if they finished bottom of the table.
It is a rapidly changing situation, however, and nothing is certain yet.But if other giant Continental clubs want to be involved then they’d better sign up quick, because one thing’s for sure: if your name’s not down you’re not coming in.Sounds a bit like a snooty nightclub…
Yes, and the burly bouncer guarding the guest list is Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.The European Super League is his brainchild.But the new league also represents an American takeover of elite European football, with Manchester United (the Glazer family), Liverpool (Fenway Sports Group, led by John W Henry) and Arsenal (Stan Kroenke) all controlled by US billionaires and venture capitalists.One source described it as ‘a US-led operation’, adding: ‘This is down mostly to the Americans at Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal who have believed for a long time that they should be making a lot more money.Then you have Tottenham, who have just built a big new stadium and who would no doubt benefit from infrastructure payments.
Chelsea and Man City, who have been reluctant, do not really need the money but there is the obvious fear of missing out.’ What’s the reason for starting a new Super League when all these clubs already play in well-established competitions? Quite simply: greed.Or, as our Chief Sports Writer Martin Samuel puts it : ‘A sickening, self-serving attempted justification of what is at heart nothing but an attempted coup.’ Perez has long been jealous of the broadcasting revenue generated by the Premier League, the world’s most-watched competition, and he wants more money than the Spanish League – LaLiga – can offer.Major US bank JP Morgan, a former employer of Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, are debt financing the new league which will see founding clubs receive £3.03billion, which is set against future broadcast revenue.But if the Premier League is so successful, why do the English clubs want in? Quite simply: greed.Not content with the enormous revenue they already generate, these clubs want to have their cake and eat it: to rake it in from the Premier League while also milking even more money from a midweek European competition.But there’s already a midweek European competition – the Champions League.What will happen to that? Stripped of its biggest clubs, club football’s current elite competition would wither and die.UEFA, who were due to announce their own proposals for a revamped Champions League on Monday, reacted with fury to the news which had broken earlier on Sunday.
A statement, issued jointly with the three governing bodies and leagues involved, said: ‘If this were to happen, we will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening.’FIFA and the six Federations announced that the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.’ Does that mean that these clubs could be banned from playing in the Premier League if this goes ahead? Yes.The Premier League – along with all the other big domestic leagues in Europe, plus the game’s governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA – will fight tooth and nail to stop their biggest clubs so shamelessly deserting the rest.And there was a warning in UEFA’s statement to players of these clubs too: if you play in the European Super League then you will not be allowed to play in the World Cup or European Championship.What have the Premier League said? A letter sent by Premier League chief executive Richard Masters to all 20 member clubs, was also strong and laced with warning to the Big Six.’We do not and cannot support such a concept,’ he wrote.’Premier League Rules contain a commitment amongst clubs to remain within the football pyramid and forbid any clubs from entering competitions beyond those listed in Rule L9, without Premier League Board permission.
I cannot envisage any scenario where such permission would be granted.’ Do these clubs need permission from the Premier League to play in the European Super League? Yes.The Premier League was founded in 1992 on the basis that all clubs have an equal vote on the governance of the league, and a right to equal share of the basic broadcasting revenues.The Big Six do not, to say the least, like this one bit.They feel that they are responsible for generating the vast proportion of global interest – and revenues – in the Premier League so deserve a way to generate even more cash.
Sounds like these big clubs can forget joining a European Super League then? They will be lobbying hard to get their way, have no doubt about that.Somehow they are brazenly trying to convince the rest of the Premier League and English football that the European Super League would benefit everyone.In a rare public comment, United co-chairman Joel Glazer claimed that the closed shop would provide ‘increased financial support for the wider football pyramid’.Just like with Project Big Picture – their failed attempt at bribing the Football League with cash to bail them out during the crippling coronavirus pandemic to let the big Six take almost complete control of English football, this new competition is motivated solely by selfishness and greed.Is that what the experts think too? Just listen to Gary Neville, a Manchester United club legend and lifelong fan of the club.
‘It’s been damned, and rightly so,’ said Neville on Sky Sports.’I’m a Manchester United fan and I have been for 40 years of my life but I’m absolutely disgusted.I’m disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool most.’Deduct them all points tomorrow, put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them.Seriously, you have got to stamp on this.
It’s criminal.It’s a criminal act against the football fans in this country, make no mistake.’There isn’t a football fan in this country that won’t be and shouldn’t be seething listening to this conversation and these announcements.’ Wow, that’s strong stuff.But is Neville alone? Not at all.Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager in Manchester United and English football history – and still an executive at United – said that a European Super League would be a move away from 70 years of football history and insisted that the Champion League should stay as it is.
‘Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football,’ he told Reuters.’Everton are spending £500million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League.Fans all over love the competition as it is.’In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.’ Pointedly, he added: ‘I am not part of the decision making process.’ Who else has spoken out? Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night condemned the six English clubs.’Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action,’ said Mr Johnson on Twitter.
‘They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.’The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.’ Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said any major decisions about a European league ‘should have the fans’ backing’.’With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game,’ he said.’Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that undermines this is deeply troubling and damaging for football.’ And what are the fans saying? 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.’ 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.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’.
What has been the reaction on social media? The condemnation has been visceral and near universal – no mean feat on platforms that manage to divide society on nearly every issue.’Football supporters don’t agree on everything, but I think we can all agree that this idea of a European Super League can absolutely f**k off,’ @AnfieldRd96 wrote on Twitter.@txmejackala added: ‘The European Super League literally epitomises what is wrong with this sport.We are seeing a vast amount of billionaires come into the sport and they want nothing, but power and control.’They do not care about the fans, they see them as customers and they take them for mugs.’ The readers’ comments on Sportsmail’s story revealing the plans for the European Super League were als.