‘The motivation is greed’: Reaction to plans for European Super League

Gary Neville has condemned the plans for a European Super League (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)Gary Neville has condemned the plans for a European Super League (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Gary Neville has condemned the plans for a European Super League (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has claimed clubs should be relegated while Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanded answers over the plans for the new European Super League.

There has been widespread condemnation of the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham intending to join a rebel competition.

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Those plans were confirmed last night, with AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid joining as founding clubs with three more clubs expected to follow before the inaugural season.

Here’s how football pundits and senior politicians have reacted to the news:

Gary Neville

“I am a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years but I am disgusted, absolutely disgusted,” the former England and United defender told Sky Sports.

“It is an absolute disgrace. Honestly, we have to wrestle back power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league, and that includes my club.

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“The motivation is greed. 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 is criminal. It is a criminal act against football fans in this country. Deduct points, deduct money and punish them.

“Enough is enough. There isn’t a football fan in this country that won’t be seething listening to this conversation and these announcements. This is disowning-your-own-club stuff, this.

“Let them break away but punish them straight away. If they announce a letter of intent has been signed, those six clubs, they should be punished heavily. Massive fines, points deductions, take the titles off them.

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“Give the title to Burnley, let Fulham stay up. Relegate Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal. Those three clubs, with their history in this country, are the ones that should suffer the most.

“The history and traditions that run through those three clubs is absolutely enormous and I value it, but they leave a lot to be desired at this moment in time.”

Jamie Carragher

Liverpool great Carragher took aim at his former club on Twitter after they confirmed their plans.

“What an embarrassment we’ve become @LFC,” he said.

“Think of all the people who have come before us at this club who would be equally embarrassed as well. #SuperLeague.”

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Roy Keane

The former Manchester United captain said: "I think it comes down to money and greed. Obviously we've not heard anything from FIFA yet, but it doesn't sound good.

"Let's hope it is stopped in its tracks. It's just pure greed."

Boris Johnson

“Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action,” said Mr Johnson.

“They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.

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“The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”

Sir Keir Starmer

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.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also commented on the matter, saying any decisions should involve fans.

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“Football supporters are the heartbeat of our national sport and any major decisions made should have their backing,” he said in a statement.

“With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game. Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that undermines this is deeply troubling and damaging for football.

“We have a football pyramid where funds from the globally successful Premier League flow down the leagues and into local communities. I would be bitterly disappointed to see any action that destroys that.”