Man Utd v Liverpool: Football Digest previews clash
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Liverpool owner John W. Henry reportedly has serious concerns that the Champions League could become a closed shop to those teams with the most financial resources. The Reds’ principal owner was one of 12 executives to be involved in the doomed Super League proposals.
The competition, which was met with a fierce and almost universal backlash, would have seen 15 of Europe’s top teams guaranteed entry into the continental tournament.
Along with the Premier League champions, five other English clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal were granted founding member status.
However, less than three days later, all but four sides had backtracked on their plans to join, leaving proposals in tatters.
Henry and Fenway Sports Group faced an emotional response from Liverpool supporters, with many hanging banners around the club’s stadium.
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As well as guaranteeing entry regardless of position, the ESL would have handed members a huge cash injection, believed to be in the region of more than £300million-per-season.
The American issued a lengthy apology to fans after it was announced the Reds would be leaving the tournament, while suggesting he will continue to work in “the club’s best interest”.
Liverpool won the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2019, but have found things more difficult this time around.
And according to the Athletic, Henry still has major reservations about Europe’s top competition, believing that like the ESL, it could become a closed shop.
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The report suggests that after looking at the final four of this season’s competition – which includes Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain – he thinks those ‘with a bottomless pit of money’ will begin to pull away.
It adds that Henry feels completely let down by UEFA and it’s ‘lack of steel’ surrounding the financial fair play regulations.
City were initially banned from European competitions this season for a breach of FFP, but after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, that was overruled.
Another question Henry has reportedly posed to those close to him is how Liverpool can rise to the top of Europe, winning each of the biggest prizes along the way, but are still unable to compete with the likes of City and Chelsea.
Liverpool have recently released their accounts for the period ending May 31, 2020, revealing a pre-tax loss of £46million.
The figures represent the start of the pandemic, which saw media income, matchday income and overall revenue all come down.
Andy Hughes, the club’s managing director, said: “This financial reporting period was up to May 2020, so approaching a year ago now.
“It does, however, begin to demonstrate the initial financial impact of the pandemic and the significant reductions in key revenue streams.
“We were in a solid financial position prior to the pandemic and since this reporting period we have continued to manage our costs effectively and navigate our way through such an unprecedented period.”
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