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.
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”
A welcome new addition, if you haven’t yet visited then we recommend you book in swiftly. No doubt the news of its conclusion in the Michelin Guide will send reservations filling up pretty sharpish.
Feature image – Google Maps
New DNA evidence could clear ‘innocent’ man who spent 17 years in prison for Salford rape
A man who spent 17 years in prison for a rape he has continued to claim he did not commit has now been granted a fresh appeal after DNA was linked to an alternative suspect.
57-year-old Andrew Malkinson from Grimsby was convicted by a jury verdict of 10-2 of strangling and raping a woman in Little Hulton in Salford back in 2003, and was jailed for life following a trial at Manchester Crown Court in February 2004.
The victim – who had been walking home alone in the early hours of 19 July 2003 – was sexually assaulted after being throttled until the point of unconsciousness, and also suffered a broken neck and a fractured cheekbone during the attack.
There was no DNA or other forensic evidence linking Mr Malkinson to the crime at the time, and the prosecution case relied mainly on identification evidence from eyewitnesses.
This is why he has always maintained his innocence and insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.
Mr Malkinson had twice been refused an appeal in the past after applying for his case to be reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) – which is the body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice – but after being released on license from prison back in 2020, scientific techniques have advanced, and this has potentially lead to some new evidence.
The legal team at the charity APPEAL was able to commission new DNA testing that revealed the presence of unknown male DNA in samples taken from the victim and her clothing, and this “breakthrough” has therefore cast doubt on Mr Malkinson’s conviction.
APPEAL Director Emily Bolton said “the battle for justice is not yet over”, adding that the CCRC “will now form its own view of the fresh evidence and we hope they will agree that Andy’s conviction cannot now be regarded as safe.”
Mr Malkinson says he “finally has the chance to prove his innocence”.
“I am innocent,” Mr Malkinson questioned in a statement provided by his legal representatives.
“Finally, I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at APPEAL. I only have one life and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old. How much longer will it take?”
As well as the case having being referred back to the CCRC this week, in light of new information, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed last month that it had arrested a 48-year-old man from Exeter on suspicion of rape, but he has since been released under investigation.
Addressing Mr Malkinson’s case, CCRC chairwoman Helen Pitcher said: “The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions.
“It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.
“New evidence can come to light years after a conviction, and in the ever-changing world of forensic science, it is crucial an independent body can undertake these enquiries and send cases of concern back to court.
“Following Mr Malkinson’s application, we used our special powers and expertise to re-examine this case, instructing experts to undertake state-of-the-art DNA testing.”