Sunday, July 21, 2024

Premier League clubs reject new European Super League plot

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By Tom Morgan, Sam Wallace, Sam Dean and James Ducker

Arsenal and Liverpool were the only two members of the ‘big six’ not to publicly denounce a new Super League plot unveiled after a landmark court ruling.

Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City issued statements sharing the sentiments of Manchester United, who had been the first of the original plotters to promise they will not entertain the latest talks.

Liverpool and Arsenal sources both said privately that their 2021 statements, in which the clubs apologised to fans over their initial involvement, still stood. Insiders at the Merseyside club further underlined that point by saying they believed John W Henry’s lengthy show of remorse two years ago for “the disruption I caused” had drawn a line under “a mistake”.

But with the two clubs stopping short of issuing a statement this time around, Arsenal’s supporters’ trust called for their club to do so: “Arsenal should immediately reassure their supporters by joining all the other clubs and major footballing bodies in rejecting any form of European Super League. Arsenal fans were as one on this issue. KSE must demonstrate they put custodianship over investor self interest.”

The latest vision of the European Super League (ESL), backed only by Barcelona and Real Madrid, was announced immediately after top EU judges said Uefa rules blocking competition were contrary to law.

New promises of free-to-air matches and a merit-based format failed to win favour again, however, with football leaders, Governments and fan groups rounding on a “walking dead monstrosity”.

The possibility of English clubs considering another defection was already minimal because of fan revolts two years ago, newly tougher Premier League rules and imminent Government legislation. One Whitehall source said any club to get involved would face expulsion from English football.

“Our position has not changed,” United said in reference to their contrite statement issued after the Super League was launched and then killed within 48 hours by fan protest. “We remain fully committed to participation in Uefa competitions, and to positive cooperation with Uefa, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game.”

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