Football Supporters' Association accuses 'billionaire foreign owners' of power grab

Kevin Miles on European Premier League proposal: "The timing of it now... proves that behind the scenes there are repeated attempts by the big, billionaire owners in England and Europe to carve out an ever-bigger slice of football revenues for themselves"

Jordan Henderson and Anthony Martial, Liverpool vs Manchester United
Image: Liverpool and Manchester United have been in talks over the proposed European Premier League

The Football Supporters' Association has accused "billionaire foreign owners" of threatening to destroy the structure of English football, by their repeated attempts to drain power and money from the game.

Sky News exclusively uncovered plans by some of England's biggest clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool, for a European Premier League, backed by FIFA.

Whilst the proposals do not encourage the break-up of domestic competitions like the Premier League, they do seem to offer a suggested replacement for the Champions League, with huge potential revenues and little chance of relegation for founder members.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSA, has told Sky Sports News: "The timing of it now, after the knock-back of Project Big Picture, proves that behind the scenes there are repeated attempts by the big, billionaire owners in England and Europe to carve out an ever-bigger slice of football revenues for themselves.

Gary Neville has called for action to tackle the lack of diversity at boardroom level 1:49
Sky Sports' Gary Neville says the timing of talks about a European Premier League during a pandemic is 'obscene' and there is a danger 'football will eat itself'

"That would have a devastating impact on domestic leagues, and a huge impact on clubs up and down the pyramid. It would threaten the very existence and the structure of English football that we have known and loved for many years."

Miles also believes that the foreign ownership model adopted by most of the 'Big Six' is at the root of the problem.

"Many of them don't understand the culture, and have no sympathy and support for the pyramid of how the game is organised here," he added.

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Liverpool and Manchester United are in talks about proposals to launch a new FIFA-backed European Premier League

"They've perhaps grown up with a franchise model of sport. They seem to want to guarantee their own involvement in these competitions at the highest level, and give themselves control over it."

Miles says if this European idea went ahead, it would make the elite Premier League clubs untouchable, in terms of financial power.

Kevin Miles, Chairman of the Football Supporters Association
Image: Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Association, is concerned by the proposed European Premier League

"The European competition money is already the biggest distorting factor in the competitive playing field of the Premier League, with the same clubs tapping into that money year after year," said Miles.

"And that's why the biggest chasm in English football is developing - not between the Premier League and the Championship - but between the top six and the rest of the Premier League".

0:28
Jurgen Klopp would not be drawn on the news Liverpool and Manchester United are in talks about proposals to launch a new FIFA-backed European Premier League

He also says the financial situation for lower league football clubs is reaching crisis point, and he is adamant it is down to government - rather than the football family - to help them survive the Coronavirus pandemic.

Miles added: "I don't think it's right that the government is expecting the Premier League clubs to provide the financial solution for those lower down.

"If a National League club is entitled as a business to government support to ensure it survives, then I don't see why that shouldn't apply to League One and Two clubs as well. They are all businesses essential to the communities who have paid their taxes, in some cases for 150 years.

"They are entitled to this sort of bailout. The government needs to take some responsibility here, in making sure clubs who are essential to the fabric of our society, can survive going forward."

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