Duke of Cambridge determined to seize the moment to secure health of football

David Hughes and Gavin Cordon, PA
·4-min read

The Duke of Cambridge said he is “glad” fans have been “heard and listened to”, following the withdrawal of English clubs from the proposed European Super League.

William, who is president of the Football Association, called for the moment to be used to “secure the future health of the game at all levels”.

He pledged to play his part in such work.

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A tweet from the Kensington Royal account, said: “I’m glad the united voice of football fans has been heard and listened to. It is now really important that we use this moment to secure the future health of the game at all levels.

“As President of the FA, I’m committed to playing my part in that work.”

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that a “root-and-branch” review into the way football is run will consider how to boost the role of fans.

Plans under consideration also include an Ofcom-style regulator for the sport, ministers have indicated, following the European Super League debacle.

Six of England’s biggest clubs abandoned plans to join the breakaway competition on Tuesday night, following a backlash from fans, the game’s authorities and the Government.

Mr Johnson said it was “the right result” but the Government is now considering what reforms may be needed to the way the sport is run.

At Prime Minister’s Questions he said the proposals would have taken clubs from English towns and cities and turned them “just into global brands with no relation to the fans, to the communities that gave them life and that give them the most love and support”.

“That was, in my view, totally wrong, to say nothing of the lack of competition,” he said.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch will carry out “a root-and-branch investigation into the governance of football and into what we can do to promote the role of fans in that governance”, Mr Johnson said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, an Arsenal season-ticket holder, said the European Super League “would have destroyed football”.

The so-called Big Six all retreated from the European Super League proposals, with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy saying the club “regret the anxiety and upset caused by the proposal” while Arsenal apologised for their “mistake” in signing up for the venture.

Liverpool’s principal owner, John W Henry, said: “I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the last 48 hours.”

Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea also confirmed they were pulling out of the plan, which would also have involved major teams from Spain and Italy.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said in an open letter to supporters: “You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.”

Culture minister Oliver Dowden said the possibility of a new regulator will “not be off the table” in Ms Crouch’s review.

“The fan-led review will look at this,” he told LBC Radio.

“Clearly we have got to get a balance. I want the Government to do as little as it has to do.

“The game is rightly self-governed, but I do think it is right that we look at governance questions like that, and that will not be off the table.”

Mr Dowden said the review will also consider whether supporters should be able to take a stake in their clubs, something that is mandated in the German top flight.

“The German clubs didn’t participate in this [Super League] proposal,” he added.

“One of the points that was made to me by fans when the Prime Minister and I met with them yesterday was the fact that there was that financial stake. I think we should look at it.

“International investment in football has been a good thing. It has increased the quality of the game and the players and everything else.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t have foreign investment, but I do think it is right that we look at how fans can have a stake in the game.”