Everton CEO condemns European Super League proposals

Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale
X The Business Desk

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Everton FC chief executive, Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale, has condemned the formation of the European Super League.

And, in a separate statement, the club’s board hit out at the “preposterous arrogance” of the clubs behind the proposals.

The controversial scheme was confirmed late on Sunday night and includes three North West clubs – Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – as well as London clubs Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur among the 12 co-founders.

It has been met with universal condemnation from football clubs and their fans, and attacked as a power-grab by ‘greedy self-interested’ club owners.

The Government, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has vowed to do all in its power to block the formation of the league, which would stage mid-week games across Europe.

Today, Prof Barrett Baxendale wrote a personal note to fans of Premier League side Everton, which is not involved in the proposed breakaway league, saying: “Disenfranchising supporters across the game and undermining the very structure of the pyramid that underpins the game we love is, quite simply, wrong.”

She wrote: “Everton Football Club was a founder member of the Football League and a founder member of the Premier League.

“Throughout our history the club has always strived to move both Everton and the game forward. But we have always done so within the parameters of the pyramid structure which maintains the principles of open competition and sporting merit.

“Sadly, the plans that have been made public by 12 clubs from across Europe – and six in our own Premier League – do not maintain those principles.

“At this time of national crisis – in the face of a global pandemic and in a defining period for football – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the thoughts of our game and its supporters uppermost in our minds.”

A separate statement on behalf of the club’s board went further, attacking the six English clubs, including close neighbours Liverpool, saying: “Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs.

“Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests.

“Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game.

“Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table.

“Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond.”

It added: “This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.”

And the board called on the owners, chairmen and board members of the six sides to immediately withdraw their proposals.

Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United and vice-chairman of the Super League, said when the proposal was launched: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”

But Europan and world football authorities, UEFA and FIFA have threatened to ban the participating clubs in their current national leagues and competitions and to ban players of the Super League from representing their countries at international level.

Gary Neville, former Manchester United captain and now a TV pundit, said: “I’m a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years of my life, but I’m disgusted, absolutely disgusted.

“I’m disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool most. Liverpool pretend ‘you’ll never walk alone’, the people’s club, the fans’ club. Manchester United, born out of 100 years of workers around here, and they’re breaking away into a league without competition, that they can’t be relegated from. It’s an absolute disgrace.

“We have to wrestle back the power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league, and that includes my club.

“It’s pure greed. They’re imposters. The owners of this club, the owners of Liverpool, the owners of Manchester City, they’re nothing to do with football in this country.”