The European Super League has united the football world in anger, with fans, pundits, former players and even the future King of England coming out to oppose the plans.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have all vowed to join the new league, as have Spanish powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid.
AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid compete the set of 'founder clubs' who will be automatically entered into the competition every year, regardless of domestic league position.
The very basis of the new league threatens the sanctity of competition at a domestic level, with Liverpool's clash with Leeds United on Monday night rendered virtually pointless – as the reigning champions of England will qualify for Europe regardless of league position based on the new rules.
For that reason, among others, some of the biggest names in football have spoken out about the proposals, which are set to be discussed by the Premier League on Tuesday, including Gary Neville branding the proposals as "criminal".
Here's a selection of what some of football's big-hitters have had to say.
Gary Neville has been one of the most vocal critics of the plans, and entered into a lengthy rant on Sky Sports on Sunday after reports first emerged.
The United hero tore into his old club's owners for their greed and called on the plans to be stopped instantly.
Neville claimed the plans are 'criminal' and attack the very foundations of football as we know it.
He said: “Manchester United aren’t even in the Champions League, neither are Arsenal – you watched them earlier today, they're an absolute shambles of a football club at the moment,
“Tottenham aren’t in the Champions League at the moment, and they want a God-given right to be in there? They’re an absolute joke and the time has come now, independent regulator, stop these clubs having the power base – enough is enough.
“The motivation is greed. My reaction earlier on wasn’t an emotional reaction. Deduct them all points tomorrow, put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them. Seriously, you have to stamp on this.
“It’s criminal. It’s a criminal act against football fans in this country. Make no mistake about it, this is the biggest sport in the world, the biggest sport in this country and it’s a criminal act against the fans, simple as that. Deduct points, deduct the money and punish them.
“They’re bottle merchants. You never hear from the owners of these clubs. Absolute bottle merchants, they’ve got no voice. They’ll probably hide for a few weeks and then say it was nothing to do with them, they were only talking about it.
“Seriously, in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis, football clubs at National League level going bust nearly, furloughing players, and these lots are having Zoom calls about breaking away and basically creating more greed? Joke.”
Neville was joined by Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, and the Liverpool icon didn't hold back in his own view of the plans.
Carragher ripped into Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's owners, for their decision to go ahead with signing up to the league.
He explained that the finances involved don't justify the decision to potentially walk away from the current Champions League format.
Carragher said: "What I would say is this is not Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Man City involved, this is John Henry and FSG, this is the Glazers, this is Roman Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour, Stan Kroenke, Daniel Levy – these are the people to blame for this.
"What they’re doing right now is dragging institutions we’ve seen in this country for over 100 years basically through the mud, burning the history of what those clubs are about because from your own club’s point of view, the only reason Liverpool are in this or have a chance of being in the Super League is because they’ve won six European Cups or 20 league titles, only one each came under FSG.
"So, they’ve used what Liverpool have done in their history, going back to Bill Shankly and even before that, to get into some league and line their own pockets.
"The biggest thing for me is certainly the football world in terms of everyone being against it tonight. Jurgen Klopp has spoken on this in 2019 and made his stance very clear, if Liverpool moves their manager on the back of this, in the next 12 months or so, those owners will be run out of that club in a week, I can assure you of that.
"The owners of Liverpool, and it hurts me more because it’s Liverpool and that’s why I’m touching on them, this ownership bought the club on the back of other American owners running the club badly and the fans got them out. They got the club for a steal and it’s now worth six or seven times more, they’ve made their money, they’ve won the lottery with Liverpool.
"My message to everyone is I think these clubs think this is a done deal, it’s done, I don’t think it is, I think supporters up and down this country can stop this – I really do believe this and I think at the forefront of that will be Liverpool because I’ve seen it before."
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was in an understandably difficult position on Monday night as he was asked about the plans.
Possibly not wishing to anger his employers after nearly six years at Anfield, the Reds boss was reluctant to rip into the plans too much.
He did, however, address his previous comments about the Super League, when he declared he didn't want the idea to formulate into reality.
"[Opinion] didn't change," Klopp said. "People are not happy, I can understand that – but I cannot say much more about it," he said ahead of Liverpool's Premier League match against Leeds tonight.
"We were not involved in the process, not the players, not me, we didn't know about it. That's the case or the fact, the facts are out there. We will have to wait to see how it develops."
"I like the fact West Ham might be in the Champions League next year. I don't want them to, because I want us to be, but I like that they have the chance to be."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to do anything within his power to stop the Super League from becoming a reality.
The politician talked up the importance of community within football clubs and declared he was actively looking into what could be done.
Mr Johnson said: "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 fan base in their community.
"So it is very, very important that that continues to be the case. I don't like the look of these proposals, and we'll be consulted about what we can do."
Arsenal hero Ian Wright emotionally declared club legend David Rocastle would be "turning in his grave" after the Gunners signed up to the Super League.
The north London side haven't qualified for the Champions League through league position since the 2015-16 season, having spent every year since out of the top four.
Speaking on social media, Wright declared Arsenal signing up to the Super League was "shameful".
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw Arsenal’s name,” he said. “This is the same Arsenal that was only just, a couple of weeks ago, commended for its tribute to David Rocastle. God, he would be turning in his grave knowing what’s going on now.
“Is this how far we’ve fallen? That we are now getting into competitions because we’re not good enough to get into. To the detriment of the English game, we’re getting a seat to the table we have no right to be at.
“It’s shameful. I’ve heard that word used, it is shameful. If I’m a player, if I play in this competition, I can’t play in the Euros, in the Fifa World Cup. They’re saying the teams in the semi-finals may get disqualified from the Champions League, because of this.
“Where is the competition in all of this? I totally disagree with this. Where’s the jeopardy? Are we supposed to play these great teams on a weekly basis.
“I played AC Milan twice in my career, it is something I will never forget. Are we supposed to be playing these teams so frequently? It’s not supposed to be like that. How do you feel as a player right now? I’d be absolutely s***ing myself now.
“Those clubs involved are English by name only. It’s a shame. It just makes me very sad. There is no way the fans, they will see straight through this b******s, I love the way that everybody is roundly condemning this, we have to stick together with this.”
Liverpool star James Milner captained the Reds against former side Leeds on Monday night, and didn't exactly hide his opinion when asked after the draw.
In doing so, he became one of the few players actively involved with one of the 'big six' to have spoken out against the proposals.
"I can only say my own personal opinion," Milner said. "I don’t like it and hopefully it doesn’t happen.
"[I don't like it for] The same reasons as everyone else who has been talking out over the last day.
“Obviously it’s been difficult for us, trying to prepare for the game, but I can only imagine what been said about it and I probably agree with most of it.”
Liverpool supporters group Spion Kop 1906 has vowed to remove its flags from Anfield in light of the news whilst supporters clubs around the world have joined forces to condemn the plans.
No supporter groups were consulted before the plans were confirmed in Sunday night's announcement.
As a result, Anfield will be bare this week when Newcastle come to visit.
"We, along with other groups involved in flags, will be removing our flags from The Kop," a statement from Spion Kop read.
"We feel we can no longer give our support to a club which puts financial greed above integrity of the game."
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa spoke openly about the plans after Monday night's draw, and said the move was a business tactic rather than a sporting advancement.
"This shouldn’t surprise any of us," he said. "The stronger teams think they have the most influence over generation revenue in football.
“If you take into account this logic, when the rest of the teams are no longer necessary for them, they take privilege in their own interest and forget about the rest.
“Of course it causes harm to football. Because football has always a view that is more commercial now, it is natural that in the world of businesses and looking only at the economic aspect, the ones that produce the most demand the majority of it.
“That is common in the world of business but football is not only a business. Of course there are different teams that are more important than others but they should be conscious that we need each other.”
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and future King of England, expressed fears over the plans.
The Prince is the current President of the FA, and released a statement after the news broke.
The statement read: "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.
"I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love."
UEFA president Aleksander Cerefin has indicated he wishes to banish any clubs wishing to form the breakaway league from competitions immediately.
He also declared that any player competing in the Super League will be banned from competing in either the European Championships or the World Cup.
"Uefa and the footballing world stand united against the disgraceful self-serving proposal we have seen in the last 24 hours from a select few clubs in Europe that are fuelled purely by greed," Cerefin said.
"The players who will play in the teams that might be playing in the closed league will be banned from playing the World Cup, and so they will not be able to represent the national teams at any matches.
"Our sport has become greatest based on sporting merit and we cannot allow that to change, we will not ever."
Inter Miami owner David Beckham didn't directly address the Super League, but appeared to indicate he was vehemently opposed to the idea.
He posted a picture of himself surrounded by fans of the Major League Soccer franchise he founded
"I'm someone who loves football," Beckham wrote on Instagram. "It has been my life for as long as I can remember.
"I loved it from when I was a young child as a fan, and I'm still a fan now.
"As a player and now as an owner I know that our sport is nothing without the fans. We need football to be for everyone.
"We need football to be fair and we need competitions based on merit. Unless we protect these values the game we love is in danger…"
Alan Shearer has called on the Premier League to ban the 'big six' clubs in response to the 'grenade' they've tossed at the organisation.
Speaking to the BBC, Shearer called on the Premier League to immediately ban the teams involved.
"The Super League has chucked a grenade at the Premier League and at everyone else. Chuck one back. Ban them.
"Ban them immediately if you can. I'm sure they'll look at every possible legal angle and what pressure they're under. If you can, do it. Absolutely.
"I would think there are directors and people running the clubs who didn't even have a clue this was coming out.
"This has probably just come from greedy owners who want their cake and eat it.
"When you look at the reaction in the last 36 hours, common sense will make you think the clubs will have to go away and think 'have we done the right thing?'"
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who is set to become the new chairman of the Super League, has declared he and the other teams involved are going to "save football" by launching the breakaway league.
"Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it. We are doing this to save football at this critical moment," Perez said.
"Audiences are decreasing and rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt.
"Young people are no longer interested in football. Why not? Because there are a lot of poor quality games and they are not interested, they have other platforms on which to distract themselves."
Source: Read Full Article