Plans for a new European Super League have been branded a "grotesque concept" driven by "greed and desperation" by leading figures in English football.
Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow, formerly of Liverpool and Chelsea - two of the Super League's 12 founding clubs, accused the proposals of doing away with sporting merit.
Former Football Association (FA) chairman David Bernstein said the arrogance of the English clubs is "something to behold" and continued calls for independent regulation in English football.
"These proposals do away with sporting merit," Purslow told BBC Radio Four.
"It would enable a small number of clubs to be in this competition come what may and, for millions of people in football, that goes against everything the sport means and stands for.
"The idea is that the uncertainty that comes with sport, that makes it so compelling, that we all love, is actually damaging to the business model of these huge clubs.
"So the scheme is designed to take away that uncertainty, to give predictability to their businesses so that, if they're badly managed or have a poor year, they're still in the premier tournament. Does that sound like sport or football to you? To me it sounds a grotesque concept."
Bernstein told the Today programme: "There are two things at play here, one is greed and the other is desperation. Some of these clubs have incurred enormous debts, I believe certainly Barcelona and Real Madrid, and I think at least one of the English clubs. I think they are in a desperate situation.
"It is a lifeline that is going to end very badly. A closed league, without recognition of the rest of the game, is a dead league. It won’t have the life of football as we understand it.
"The arrogance of these half a dozen English clubs is something to behold.”