European Super League ‘a war on football’ says Rio Ferdinand as he slams Manchester United involvement

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George Flood
·2-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand has lambasted the announcement of a European Super League as a “war on football” as we know it.

Late on Sunday night came confirmation of reports that the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ clubs - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham - were among 12 founder members of a midweek breakaway league that they intend to begin “as soon as practicable”.

LaLiga trio Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have also signed up, along with Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan from Serie A. Three more clubs are also expected to join.

Such plans have shaken the game to its foundations and prompted an angry response from leagues, governing bodies, fans and pundits, while British Government figures such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden have also expressed their criticisms.

Footballers past and present have similarly registered their emphatic antipathy to the Super League, with Gary Neville particularly vehement in his opposition.

Fellow Manchester United legend Ferdinand has also added to that strong growing chorus of opposition.

"This is, for me, a war on football. It's a disgrace, it's embarrassing and goes against everything football is about,” the ex-England captain lamented on BT Sport.

"It's a closed shop for these bigwigs and it's completely and utterly only about one thing and that's money. The rich getting richer and the others not even being considered.

"How they've got the audacity to do it in the climate we're in at the moment... the pandemic around the world. People are struggling all over the world, and this lot...colluding with this idea that they've hatched - and to break it like this.

"The element of being anti-competitive goes against everything football is about. It screams (that) these people have no idea what football's about. It's purely a business transaction. The people who make this game special are not being considered."

Rio Ferdinand says he is “embarrassed” by Manchester UnitedGetty Images
Rio Ferdinand says he is “embarrassed” by Manchester UnitedGetty Images

Like Neville, Ferdinand added that he was “embarrassed” that United - the club for whom he made 455 appearances across a trophy-laden 12-year stint as a player between 2002-14 - were among the founder members of the breakaway league.

“I’m embarrassed. There’s been so many things thrown at the owners over the past few years, but this situation now – to be a part of that group that want to break away and leave everybody for dead – that’s an embarrassment,” he said.

“I can’t believe it. I’m sorry, I’m a Man United fan, I love the club, but I can’t stand by and support something like that at all.”

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