Premier League clubs split over whether European Super League plans can be stopped

Jack Rosser
·4-min read
 (Getty Images for Premier League)
(Getty Images for Premier League)

Opinion is split among the Premier League's 14 left-behind clubs over whether plans for a European Super League can be stopped.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City will all be left out of a Premier League shareholders meeting on Tuesday morning as the other clubs decide how to respond to Sunday's shock announcement.

One director of a Premier League club is "95 per cent" sure the Super League will begin in 2022 and has accused Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, of wasting time by doing "everything to appease the big six", only for them to still sign up to a Super League.

There are others, though, who are more confident that a solution can be found, with Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish saying the plans are a "busted flush" in their current form.

An emergency Premier League meeting was held on Sunday when Masters wrote to all clubs warning those involved in the Super League to “walk away immediately before irreparable damage is done", though none of the six who have signed up appeared cowed by the pressure.

Masters led the Premier League revolt against damaging reform plans titled 'Project Big Picture' in October, with the proposal swiftly rejected by the top-flight.

However, one director has criticised Masters's handling of breakaway attempts by the big clubs and suggested his predeccessor - Richard Scudamore, who remains a consultant for the Premier League - would have done a far better job.

"I wish it was Richard Scudamore [still in charge], not Richard Masters," the director told Standard Sport. "The latter [Masters] has done everything to appease the big six and it has been a waste of time.

"In my opinion, 95 per cent the Super League will happen in season 2022-23. I don’t see how it can be stopped.

"We are 100 per cent against it, but sadly I don’t see how we have the power to stop it."

While there are splits, it seems some within the other 14 clubs have more faith than others. Parish said the breakaway clubs had overplayed their hand with the announcement and that it could prove a good thing for football eventually.

"We all know it's been brewing for a long time," Parish told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. "We might look back on this and think it's quite a good day for football.

"We've seen people massively overplay their hand. They were getting their way on so many things. They've been chipping away in the background and it's difficult to get people to pay attention. So it feels like this was a bit of a gift.

Some Premier League directors have been critical of Richard MastersGetty Images for Premier League
Some Premier League directors have been critical of Richard MastersGetty Images for Premier League

“What is pleasing since the announcement has been the round condemnation from everybody. On a Sunday afternoon [when the news broke], if you can manage to unite just about every football fan, every club, every chief executive, Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan - a whole group of people who can rarely agree on anything instantly coming out and condemning something. So it feels like a busted flush."

The Premier League will work with the government, the Football Association (FA) and other governing bodies in Europe to fend off the plans, which were announced on Sunday night. There have also been calls from some directors for the government to recall loans taken out by Arsenal and Tottenham with the Bank of England during the pandemic.

In response, the Premier League quickly condemned the plans and said: "A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper."

Those involved in the Super League have threatened legal action against any attempts from Leagues or Uefa to stifle the tournament, which would see the 12 founding clubs protected from losing out on European football riches due to a drop off in domestic performance, therefore devaluing leagues across the continent.

A joint statement including Uefa and the English, Italian and Spanish leagues published on Sunday said it would consider “all measures, both judicial and sporting” to oppose the Super League, with Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin warning that those involved could be banished from the Champions League or Europa League and their players barred from competing at World Cups and European Championships.

Speaking on Monday, Ceferin called on domestic leagues to get tough on their clubs who have signed up to the Super League.

Ceferin said: “This is the decision of domestic leagues, but we are in contact with them and I am sure they will do the same sanctions as we will do.”

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