Six English ESL breakaway clubs agree to pay £22m to grassroots causes

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Adam Davy/PA</span>
Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

The six English clubs who attempted to join the European Super League have agreed a settlement with the Premier League in which they will pay £22m between them to causes that support “the good of the game”. The sum is more than was agreed with Uefa in a similar act of contrition but still amounts to less per club than they would pay an average squad member in a year.

A further agreement was struck on new rules to prevent such a breakaway from happening again. In future each club agreeing to enter a competition without the consent of the league would pay a fine of £25m and receive a 30-point deduction. Under the terms of the ESL, the six – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – had planned to continue playing in their domestic leagues as well as in the invitation-only competition.

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The Premier League confirmed the news in a joint statement with the Football Association. “The six clubs involved in proposals to form a European Super League have today acknowledged once again that their actions were a mistake, and have reconfirmed their commitment to the Premier League and the future of the English game,” the statement read. “They have wholeheartedly apologised to their fans, fellow clubs, the Premier League and the FA.

“As a gesture of goodwill, the clubs have collectively agreed to make a contribution of £22m which will go towards the good of the game, including new investment in support for fans, grassroots football and community programmes.”

The league had previously announced it would attempt to close off the possibility of future breakaways by changing the competition’s rules. The size of the punishment doled out to the clubs, however, will be seen as evidence of how dependent the league is on its biggest names for its global success.

Under the terms of the ESL deal, individual “founder” clubs were in line to earn £250m simply for signing up to the project. That money would have been in effect loaned by the bank JP Morgan, however, and offset against future TV revenues.

The government’s review of football in England, led by the former sports minister Tracey Crouch MP, is also likely to look at the possibility of stopping future threats to the English football pyramid. The review is expected to come to preliminary conclusions before parliament goes into summer recess.