Chamber boss rails against new football Super League

The King Power

An East Midlands business leader has railed against the idea of a European Super League, saying it would financially hit the East Midlands if it goes ahead.

Scott Knowles, chief executive of the East Midlands Chamber, was reacting to the news that 12 clubs announced on Sunday evening (April 18) they had joined the new Super League.

However, he said that if the competition goes ahead it will water-down the Premier League and the cash that pours into the region when the big clubs visit would be lost.

Knowles said: “Previous calculations have suggested the value of Leicester City playing in the Premier League is worth more than £16m per season to the city through accommodation, inner-city transport, and food and beverage spend, while the Champions League could be worth up to £5m.

“Should Nottingham Forest or Derby County manage to reach the Premier League in the near future, the cities of Nottingham and Derby could expect a similar economic uplift.

“But the implications of a European Super League on a watered-down Premier League in terms of wider interest – and the effective prohibition of these clubs from entering the top European competition – would likely mean such financial opportunities for these clubs and their communities would no longer be on the table.”

The same would be true for those clubs further down the football pyramid, said Knowles, including Mansfield Town, Notts County and Chesterfield.

He added: “Supporters of these clubs are often invested, emotionally and financially, in the possibilities that exist of climbing the sporting ladder but a glass ceiling would no doubt diminish the rewards at every level of the game.

“The celebrations surrounding Leicester City’s success in the FA Cup semi-final, in which some fans were allowed to attend for the first time this year, demonstrated the important role that football clubs have in their communities and local economies.

“Yesterday’s occasion at Wembley offered us a welcome glimpse into the future of sizeable crowds eventually returning to stadiums, and the benefits this brings to businesses that rely on these large-scale events.

“So it’s hugely disappointing that as we should be revelling in such a positive step in our roadmap out of lockdown, we are instead talking about something which will only narrow the opportunities available to people in areas like the East Midlands.”

The plans for the European Super League, to start in August, would see Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur join three teams from Italy and three from Spain, and three more to be confirmed, as “founder” clubs. The idea has been met with widespread horror from fans and pundits.