PFA chief Gordon Taylor: Players showed ‘how much they care about fans’ with Super League criticism

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George Flood
·2-min read
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<p></p> (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor believes footballers “showed how much they care” about fans after their role in the collapse of the plans for a European Super League.

The Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’ of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham were all among the 12 founder members of a new breakaway midweek competition announced amid huge controversy last weekend.

However, the backlash from protesting fans, leagues, governing bodies, rival clubs, managers, governments and even royalty was so severe that those clubs swiftly withdrew from the project, which founder Andrea Agnelli subsequently admitted could no longer go ahead.

Many players also made their opposition to the Super League plainly clear, with the likes of Liverpool’s James Milner and Leeds striker Patrick Bamford initially speaking out, followed by countless others.

"Above all they have shown how much they care about supporters," Taylor said of the reaction from players.

The initial announcement regarding a Super League came on the eve of Uefa passing reforms to the Champions League that will see the competition expand from 32 to 36 teams from the 2024-25 season onwards, with the current group stage to be replaced by a single league stage involving at least 10 matches for each team.

Such changes have been criticised by the likes of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan for adding yet more games to an already hectic schedule - a view shared by Taylor, who emphasised the need to consider player welfare.

"They (Uefa) keep going to the well for more and more games and looking at quantity rather than quality," he added.

"We do need to be mindful of the health and safety of our players because, even though we've made massive improvements with regard to medicine and science and sport science, it is still only an average eight-year career because of the intensity of the competition."

Additional reporting by PA.

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