Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Tottenham have agreed to join the European Super League; Everton say they are "saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs"; the 14 other PL clubs are meeting to consider their response
Tuesday 20 April 2021 20:52, UK
Everton have strongly condemned the six Premier League clubs who have agreed to join the new European Super League.
Everton say the clubs - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham - are behaving with "preposterous arrogance", are "tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game" and have called for the plans to be withdrawn.
The world of football has been shaken by the proposal, which would see the six Premier League sides join three from Spain and three from Italy to form a breakaway European Super League, with the games to be played in midweek.
The Real Madrid and Super League president Florentino Perez says the plans will 'save football', but they have been universally condemned throughout the game. The 14 Premier League clubs who are not included are meeting on Tuesday to discuss how to proceed.
"Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs," read a statement from Everton's board of directors released on Tuesday morning.
"Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests.
"Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game.
"Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table.
"Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond.
"At this time of national and international crisis - and a defining period for our game - clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost.
"Instead, these clubs have been secretly conspiring to break away from a football pyramid that has served them so well.
"And in that Pyramid Everton salutes EVERY club, be it Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, Gillingham, Lincoln City, Morecambe, Southend United, Notts County and the rest who have, with their very being, enriched the lives of their supporters throughout the game's history. And vice versa.
"The self-proclaimed Super Six appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game - including their own - by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat.
"The backlash is understandable and deserved - and has to be listened to.
"This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.
"On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practises that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.
"Finally we would ask the owners, chairmen, and Board members of the six clubs to remember the privileged position they hold - not only as custodians of their clubs but also custodians of the game. The responsibility they carry should be taken seriously.
"We urge them all to consider what they wish their legacy to be."
Aston Villa - Chief Executive Christian Purslow told the BBC: "Right now in the Premier League, Leicester and West Ham are in third and fourth place in the table and under any normal arrangements they would have access to the Champions League. Under this new proposal they would be leap-frogged by teams below them in the League.
"Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest have won the European Cup three times - Spurs and Arsenal and Manchester City have not won it at all. These proposals do away with sporting merit. It would enable a small number of clubs to be in this competition come what may, and for millions of people in football that goes against everything that the sport stands for.
"The idea is that the uncertainty that comes with sport that makes it so compelling and makes it the sport that we love is actually damaging to the business models of these huge clubs. And so this format is designed to take away that uncertainty, to give predictability to their businesses so that if they have a poor year, if they're badly managed, they're still in the Premier tournament. Does that sound like sport or football to you? It sounds to me like a grotesque concept.
"There is a pyramid, it's based on merit. And the pinnacle of that pyramid is the elite European competition. Most importantly, the fans view that competition with great prestige, as the elite, a competition with history. Do you think the fans of those clubs would want to win a made up new tournament that has no legacy? I don't for one minute think the fans of Liverpool and Manchester United would."
Brighton - Statement released on Tuesday: "It has been hugely encouraging to see universal opposition and widespread condemnation from across the game from various football authorities, fans, players, commentators, pundits and media, and all-party opposition in government.
"Ultimately, we are committed to a thriving domestic league and pyramid with the ultimate reward of European competition for achievements and success on the field.
"We remain open to a transparent, calm and rational dialogue with all clubs to achieve this."
Burnley - Owner Alan Pace statement: "A breakaway Super League should never have happened, but this is about much more than club self-interest and is an example of how the governance of football in this country and throughout Europe needs to be reformed.
"The six Premier League clubs taking this step have turned their back on our moral duty as custodians of the game to protect English football and, the spirit of the sport, at all costs. Weak governance has led us to this point. Therefore, today I am calling on Boris Johnson and Oliver Dowden to follow their welcome intervention and now appoint an independent regulator to protect English football with legislation.
"As a former financier, I understand the commercial considerations for these clubs and can appreciate their frustration at being the largest revenue drivers for the UEFA Champions League, without receiving the same levels of influence and reward. However, this is a move which does not treat fans or the game's history with the respect it deserves and is not the solution. We need to ensure that football is protected. The game is bigger than all of us, and its future cannot be compromised by self-interest. The contempt the proposals have received was inevitable.
"It is truly a shame that it has come to this. We are the greatest league in the world and we can do more to bring people together and set the path forward for all and not just the few. While we too at Burnley have ambitious plans to grow the club's revenues, those plans have always been on the back of performance, both on and off the pitch, and not artificial protectionism.
"As my business partners and I have now been working and living in Burnley for several months and are in the process of moving permanently to the area, I would greatly encourage my fellow chairmen to walk the streets around their local communities and get to know them personally, rather than creating more distance between themselves and fans.
"This is also why I invite No10, the Government and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to now legislate. Over the coming days, I will be working hard alongside my fellow club owners and governing bodies to fight these proposals and find a solution to improved football governance in this country."
Crystal Palace - Chairman Steve Parish told Monday Night Football - "This is beyond the pale; this is incredible what's going on. For these clubs to want to invent a tournament, based on an arbitrary period of history, to leapfrog clubs in Europe that have a much stronger history over a longer period of time, and just say 'we're the gilded elite and it will never change' is abhorrent to every single football fan in this country and every single football fan around Europe…
"In the end, if they've got the authority to run off and start their own league and can cancel the agreement they've got with us then I'm sure the rest of us have got the authority to start our own one as well. But none of us want that. We've got to get round the table and we've got to try and find solutions.
"Firstly, UEFA have got to find a solution, because in the end, right now, it's not our league they're walking away from. They don't actually want to walk away from our league, they want to walk away from the Champions League. There's a lot of things that can happen before we get to a point where we have to take those kind of sanctions."
Fulham - Owner Shahid Khan statement: "I join with the entirety of Fulham Football Club, and 13 fellow Premier League clubs, in denouncing the proposed European Super League.
"The concept will not serve the game or our most important stakeholders - the generations of football fans here in England and throughout Europe who have been as loyal to their domestic leagues, and the opportunities they offer, as they are to their favourite teams."
Leeds - Owner Andrea Radrizzani on Twitter - "Absolutely against the sporting spirit, the dream of millions of fans to conquer the championships on the field, with planning, vision, work. Kill dreams of club players and fans. The teams are fans and WE are the keepers of the club."
Leicester - Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers said in his pre-match press conference: "It does feel like an attack on the competition, and the history - how fathers took sons to games, and grandfathers....I think everyone will fight to protect that, and the game in this country...It would be very tough to take, if we were to finish in a European place and not be able to go forward with that."
A subsequent club statement read: "Leicester City Football Club has joined 13 of its Premier League colleagues in opposition to a European Super League and to reaffirm our commitment to the long-standing and successful structure of domestic football.
"Competitive integrity and merit-based achievement are fundamental principles of the sport which, if compromised, will cause irreparable damage to the game, to the clubs whose legitimate aspirations underpin the entire football pyramid and to the communities those clubs serve.
"As custodians of our respective clubs, it falls to us to uphold football's values, the solidarity and unity that protect the future of the sport and to ensure its commercial successes help strengthen its foundations throughout the pyramid and into the grassroots game.
"Football clubs exist for their supporters, whose passion and devotion are not simply a response to the game, but a fundamental and indispensable part of it. Their contribution is fed by their right to dream - a right we share a collective responsibility to protect.
"Leicester City is wholly supportive of the Premier League's position in this matter and enormously encouraged by the way football's supporters, Government and regulators have come together to challenge this threat to the game's future.
Newcastle - Sky Sports News understands Newcastle United as a club strongly oppose the proposals of the big six as they meet the other 13 clubs today.
Sheffield United - Sheffield United have so far declined to comment but the club have shared the Premier League statement condemning the breakaway.
Southampton - Southampton have so far declined to comment but took their cue from Wolves on Twitter.
West Brom - Statement released on Tuesday: "West Bromwich Albion is wholly opposed to the plans brought forward to establish a new European Super League.
"As a founder member of The Football League in 1888, the club believes in the principles of fair competition; in allowing all fans to dream that this year could be their year, and with that, the knowledge that poor performance may bring the consequences of relegation.
"A closed league is not one that any club outside of the so-called "Big Six" can endorse, and one it is apparent no genuine football fan - even if they follow one of those six teams - can support.
"The six Premier League clubs taking this step have turned their backs on English football, dismissing any concerns for the future of our game at all levels.
"To take away the dreams of millions of fans, and the opportunity for their respective clubs to earn success, cannot be allowed, and Albion will do everything within its power to preserve the integrity of competition the club helped establish 133 years ago.
"We stand alongside all clubs, players and supporters who believe in open competition, and understand that the future of English football is dependent on our collective strength to oppose these divisive and selfish plans."
West Ham - Statement released on Tuesday: "West Ham United shared its views and those of its supporters expressing vehement opposition to the proposal for a Super League at a Premier League meeting held on Tuesday morning.
"Following a meeting between senior club officials and the Independent Supporters' Committee within 24 hours of the news breaking, vice-chairman Karren Brady met with representatives from 13 other Premier League clubs to share the Hammers' unequivocally strong disapproval of a proposal by six clubs to create a breakaway league that undermines our values and those of the game we all hold so dear.
"As a club that was founded by working-class shipbuilders over 125 years ago, is deeply rooted in its own community and is acutely aware of the traditions of English football, we passionately believe that there should be no barrier to supporting West Ham United and these proposals go entirely against the integrity of our beautiful game.
"These proposals are an attack on sporting integrity, undermine competition, and ignore those supporters, and those of the thousands of clubs and millions of players, from the Premier League to Sunday League, who can aspire to reach the top of the game just like our 150-plus homegrown Academy of Football graduates who came from grassroots and were developed into first-team players.
"Our supporters have been there throughout our 125-year journey, for our FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup wins, our promotions and many other memorable moments. These proposals go totally against the ethos and values - the West Ham Way - that have inspired us to those unforgettable successes and will shape the next generation of Hammers, on and off the pitch.
"West Ham United will continue to do everything possible standing together with its supporters, government, governing bodies and the wider football community to resist this attack on football in the best interests of our club and of the game we all love."
Wolves - Wolves have so far declined to comment but cheekily used their Twitter account to declare themselves 2018/19 Premier League champions.