European Super League: Boris Johnson promises football club owners will not be allowed to create a ‘closed shop’
Boris Johnson has promised that football club owners will not be allowed to create a “closed shop” with the European Super League.
The Prime Minister and UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden met on Tuesday with representatives from the Football Association, the Premier League and fan groups to discuss action after plans were revealed for a proposed European Super League
Mr Johnson told football fans he stood in solidarity with them and insisted supporters must be at the heart of any decisions about the future of the game.
He told attendees the UK Government would not stand by while a “small handful of owners created a closed shop”.
The Prime Minister also refused to rule out anything in a bid to stop the Super League, including legislative options.
Backing the football authorities, Mr Johnson confirmed they had the government’s full backing to take whatever action was necessary.
Representatives of fans of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool were among those attending the meeting.
A No 10 spokesperson said: “He reiterated his unwavering support for the football authorities and confirmed they have the government’s full backing to take whatever action necessary to put a stop to these plans.
“All attendees agreed that action was necessary to protect the fairness and open competition we expect to see in football, and to uphold the fundamental principle that any club should have the chance to play and win against the biggest players in the game."
Mr Johnson’s spokesperson also confirmed the Prime Minister wanted to speak to counterparts in Italy and Spain to discuss the league.
He said: “We’re fairly unequivocal that we don’t want this to go ahead in the current form, so we would welcome any club that wants to step back from this approach.”
The super league is a new mid-week competition set to run alongside the domestic leagues and likely replace the clubs’ involvement in the Champions League and Europa League.
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as ‘founding clubs’, while there is an expectation that three more clubs will join.
Those involved have insisted it will be good for other clubs.
In a statement, they said: “The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues.
“These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion [£8.6bn] during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs.”
UEFA have condemned the announcement and called for sanctions.
A statement said: "We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit – it cannot be any other way.
“As previously announced by FIFA and the six Confederations, 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.”
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