London (AP) – The new push for a billion dollar European super competition has sparked criticism and anger. Former professionals and fan representatives from England criticized the project, and the European Football Association UEFA again made clear its rejection.
Such a competition of 18 top European clubs would “inevitably become boring”, according to UEFA. According to information from British media, the so-called “European Premier League” is being promoted by champions FC Liverpool and Manchester United.
Former Liverpool professional and TV commentator Jamie Carragher vented his anger with drastic words. “Fuck off,” Carragher wrote on Twitter. Man United icon Gary Neville was also upset. “Football eats itself,” said Neville at Sky Sports, “because the fans will turn away.”
Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp initially declined to comment on the plans. “I have absolutely no time to worry about it,” he said at a press conference. “I’m not involved, I take care of the day-to-day business.”
According to the reports, the super league would be backed by around five billion euros from investors. This is outrageous given the financial troubles many UK football clubs are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “We need to look at the structure of the game and what it means for the communities in this country,” said Neville.
UEFA president Alexander Ceferin has categorically rejected the idea several times. The principles of solidarity, promotion, relegation and open competitions are non-negotiable, a statement said. Only then did European football and the Champions League function. World governing body FIFA, which reportedly backed the plans, did not comment on the reports.
Javier Tebas, president of Spain’s La Liga, accused the initiators of “total ignorance” of international football and a lack of knowledge of broadcasting rights.
The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), a fan association with more than 500,000 members, also expressed dissatisfaction with the plans. “They disprove the myth that billionaire owners care about England’s football structure or anything other than their own greed,” said FSF Chairman Kevin Miles. “That is probably the last nail in the box for the idea that you can trust football to regulate itself.”
The idea of a super league is not new and has always emerged in recent years when it comes to Champions League reforms – which have so far been unsuccessful. Recently the owners of Liverpool and Man United wanted to reform the English Premier League, but they had failed.