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European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE

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European Super League is ‘seismic move’ says expert

The world of football continues to reel from the news that England’s ‘big six’ intend to join the breakaway European Super League (ESL), a “new midweek competition” which would be designed to replace the Champions League. But the Premier League, FIFA, UEFA and even the Government have confirmed strong opposition to the plans of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, which were officially announced via a uniform statement on Sunday night.

The Premier League heavyweights would be joined in the newly-formed tournament by AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid and “a further three clubs” who are as of yet unconfirmed.

But reacting to the news, UEFA vowed in a statement: “As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”

And talk is now turning as to whether the formation of the ESL, described as “a new European competition between 20 top clubs comprised of 15 founders and five annual qualifiers”, will truly lead to the break-up of the Premier League as we know it or not.

It is unclear if UEFA and FIFA will truly carry through with their threats of expulsion while the ESL website confidently reads: “Games will be played mid-week, and all clubs will remain in their domestic leagues.”

It has been reported that if teams are excluded from their domestic leagues, they would have to restart in the fifth category in their countries, which for the English clubs would be the National League, outside of the English Football League.

But what do you think? Should Man United and the rest of England’s ‘big six’ be kicked out of England’s top flight? Have your say in Express Sport’s poll below.

European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE

European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE (Image: GETTY)

United legend Gary Neville has been among the strongest critics of the idea and fumed on Sky Sports on Sunday: “The motivation is greed. Deduct them all points tomorrow, put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them.

“Seriously, you have got to stamp on this. It is criminal. It is a criminal act against football fans in this country. Deduct points, deduct money and punish them.

“Let them break away into a super league, but then punish them. Punish them heavily, massive fines, points deductions, take their titles off them. Relegate United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Give the titles to Fulham and Burnley.”

The 12 clubs that have signed up to the ESL on Sunday left the European Club Association (ECA), meaning they are no longer represented by FIFA or UEFA.

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has resigned as the ECA chairman and also from the UEFA Executive committee to become vice-chairman of the ESL, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez heading up the operation and Man United co-chairman Joel Glazer also serving as an ESL vice-chairman.

Perez said in the Super League’s statement: “We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

While Agnelli declared: “Our 12 Founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies.

European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE

European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE (Image: GETTY)

“We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”

And Glazer added: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”

The statement has been heavily criticised throughout world football and in response to the reports of an ESL on Sunday, before they were confirmed, the Premier League said: “The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.

“Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.

“The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world. Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.

“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.

European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE

European Super League POLL: Should Premier League axe Man Utd and rest of big six? VOTE (Image: GETTY)

“We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.”

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared on Twitter: “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action. They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country. 

“The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”

It remains to be seen what sanctions will be taken against the clubs involved although clearly it will not be an issue that subsides easily – and the strong condemnation of governing bodies means heavy punishments are certainly viable.

UEFA’s joint statement with the FA and the Premier League said: “We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

The Super League says it will begin in August and consist of two groups of 10 playing home and away matches. The top three of each group will qualify for the quarter-finals and the teams who finish fourth and fifth will go head-to-head in a two-legged play-off for the final spot. The single fixture final will take place in May at a neutral venue.

The ESL statement added that the 15 founding clubs will receive £3billion in order to “support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic”.



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