Sunday, July 25, 2021

Boris Johnson vows to block Super League

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will do “everything we can” to stop the European Super League from going through.

The leading European clubs, including English sides Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, signed up to participate in a breakaway tournament.

Some clubs released statements that said they intend to continue in their domestic leagues, but UEFA and FIFA threatened to ban teams who participate, which could lead to the teams involved abandoning their own leagues.

“I don’t like the look of these proposals, and we’ll be consulted about what we can do,” Johnson said while on a visit to Gloucestershire.

“We are going to look at everything that we can do with the football authorities to make sure that this doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed.

“I don’t think that it’s good news for fans, I don’t think it’s good news for football in this country.

“These clubs are not just great global brands — of course they’re great global brands — they’re also clubs that have originated historically from their towns, from their cities, from their local communities.

“They should have a link with those fans, and with the fanbase in their community. So it is very, very important that that continues to be the case.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: “Be in no doubt, if they [Premier League and UEFA] can’t act, we will. We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening.”

“As a conservative, I believe passionately in defending our nation’s institutions and our rich heritage. They are central to our identity and help build a sense of solidarity between people from every generation, and every background.

“The government wouldn’t hesitate to act when other treasured areas of our national life are under threat, nor will we hesitate to protect one of our greatest national institutions football.”

Dowden added that Britain has looked closely at the German model of majority fan-ownership of soccer clubs, and will examine the idea more closely in an upcoming fan-led review of governance of the sport.

“We’ve examined the German model very closely,” he said.

“It’s very interesting to note that German teams are not participating in this, that makes the case rather for the fan-led review looking at the German model.”

Dowden also told parliament: “Be in no doubt, if they can’t act, we will. We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening.

“We are examining every option from governance reform to competition law and mechanisms that allow football to take place. Put simply, we will be reviewing everything the government does to support these clubs to play.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect our national game.”

Britain’s Prince William, President of the English Football Association, also voiced his disapproval later on Monday, saying he shared fans’ concerns about the idea.

“Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community — from the top level to the grassroots — and the values of competition and fairness at its core,” the prince, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, wrote on Twitter.

“I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love,” added the tweet which was signed “W”, meaning it had come from the prince himself.

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