Boris Johnson to meet football bosses as government pledges to stop European Super League
The top voices in government and local MPs have come out swinging as opposition to the breakaway league continues to mount.
The Prime Minister will meet football bosses and fans on Tuesday in a bid to halt football’s new European Super League.
Boris Johnson will take part in crunch talks with representatives from the FA, Premier League and supporters’ groups after six of England’s top clubs announced plans to breakaway and form their own division.
In a direct message to fans via The Sun newspaper, the PM said: “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.”
Fellow cabinet members have joined Johnson in his opposition to the new league.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the government will do “everything to protect our national game.”
“The football authorities have robust rules in place to deal with this, and I know from my conversations today that they are rightfully considering a wide range of sanctions and measures to stop this move in its tracks,” he stated.
“My message to them was clear: they have our full backing. But be in no doubt: if they can’t act, we will. We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson denounced the Super League on Tuesday morning – claiming it was a concept “dreamed up by money men” and “must be stopped”.
Many local MPs have also expressed concern over the division – including Manchester’s Lucy Powell, who called it “disastrous for the game and its fans.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham echoed the sentiments of ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville – who has repeatedly called the proposals “disgusting.”
The European Super League has even come in from criticism from the monarchy – with Prince William publishing a statement deploring the move.
Writing via the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s social media account, he stated: “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.”
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all agreed to take part in the European Super League alongside Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan – which would have no promotion or relegation.
The division is set to be funded by investment bank JP Morgan – with participation expected to be highly lucrative for all the clubs involved.
The chairman of the league – Real Madrid President Florentino Perez – claimed the tournament would “save football“.
He told Spanish TV: “We’re doing this to save football, which is in a critical moment.
“The important clubs in England, Italy, and Spain must find a solution to a very bad situation that football is going through.”
But critics have called the league “anti-competitive” – and anger has continued to mount since the official European Super League statement was released on Sunday evening (April 18).
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has already warned that players who take part could be banned from representing their countries at international level.
On Monday, fans from clubs across England hung banners at stadiums protesting the formation of the league, with some claiming they would not return to watch their team if the division went ahead as planned.
During Liverpool’s game against Leeds last night, United’s players wore t-shirts bearing anti-Super League messages – including ‘earn it’ next to the Champions League logo and ‘football is for the fans’.
A plane also flew overhead trailing a ‘Say No To Super League’ banner.
The 14 Premier League clubs not involved in the Super League will discuss the situation together on Tuesday.
It is understood that the six clubs preparing to breakaway will not be invited.