‘We need football to be for everyone’: David Beckham speaks out against plans for ‘greedy’ European Super League as he shares photo of himself with loyal Inter Miami fans
- Six of the English Premier League’s biggest clubs have sparked outrage after announcing plans to launch the breakaway European Super League
- The move will see them compete alongside top European sides in an exclusive money-spinning league, without fear of relegation and automatic qualification
- Beckham insisted the decision to launch a league that rewards Europe’s biggest clubs without merit undermines the fans who pay to watch them play
- The former footballer’s friend James Corden also voiced his displeasure at the ‘greedy’ move while hosting the latest edition of The Late Late Show
David Beckham has added his voice to the growing number currently rallying against plans for a controversial new football league, exclusive to the biggest clubs in Europe.
Six of the English Premier League’s biggest clubs have sparked outrage after announcing plans to launch the breakaway European Super League in direct competition to Europe’s elite Champion’s League.
The move will see Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal compete alongside top European sides in an exclusive money-spinning league, without fear of relegation and automatic qualification regardless of their domestic league standing.
Speaking out: David Beckham has added his voice to the growing number currently rallying against plans for a controversial new football league, exclusive to the biggest clubs in Europe
Offering his thoughts on the controversial plans, Beckham – now heavily involved with MLS football after co-founding new soccer franchise Inter Miami – insisted the decision to launch a league that rewards Europe’s biggest clubs without merit undermines the fans who pay to watch them play.
Sharing a picture of himself surrounded by devoted Inter Miami fans, the 46-year old wrote: ‘I’m someone who loves football. 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.
Not happy: Offering his thoughts on the controversial plans, Beckham insisted the decision to launch a league that rewards Europe’s biggest clubs without merit undermines the fans
‘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…’
The proposed midweek tournament, which also includes Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, will see 12 clubs play each other as a replacement for the existing Champions League.
But unlike UEFA’s premier competition their participation will be guaranteed regardless of where they finish in their respective domestic leagues at the end the season.
Speaking out: James Corden, a passionate West Ham United fan, also voiced his displeasure at the ‘greedy’ move while hosting the latest edition of The Late Late Show
James Corden, a passionate West Ham United fan, also voiced his displeasure at the ‘greedy’ move while hosting the latest edition of The Late Late Show.
He said: ‘I’m heartbroken by it, genuinely heartbroken by it. I’m heartbroken because the owners of these teams have displayed the worst kind of greed I’ve ever seen in sport.’
He compared the Super League, which would allow its founder members access on an historical basis rather than merit, to an imagined scenario where A-list actresses Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Saoirse Ronan and Viola Davis carve up Oscar nominations for themselves.
You’ll always walk alone: Liverpool fans protested all day on Monday following proposals for a European Super League
Controversy: The so-called Big Six of the Premier League – Arsenal, Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham – have faced a furious backlash to their proposals to breakaway
And Corden condemned the owners of the clubs – including United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona – for taking the game away from fans.
‘It’s hard to express how much these communities rely on football, not just financially, which is considerable, but football is like a focal point of a town’s hopes and dreams, that’s what it is, you know?
‘And these dreams, they’ve just been shattered not just in Britain, all across Europe. And the reason these dreams have been shattered and discarded is so that a group of billionaires can buy themselves a bigger boat, or a second boat.’
Old times: Beckham played with distinction for Manchester United during a stellar career, winning the UEFA Champion’s League in 1999
He added: ‘Football is a working class game where anyone can beat anyone on their day, and it’s that that makes it incredible, it’s that that’s made it the global force it is today.’
Corden said the Super League would stop another fairytale triumph similar to the unfancied Leicester City’s Premier League title win in 2016.
He added: ‘And if this happens, and unfortunately I really do think it will, I don’t want to be over dramatic but I do think it’s the end of the sport that we love. It truly is. I think it’s going to happen and I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it.’
Main men: Juventus, chief Andrea Agnelli (L), is part of the controversial plans as is Manchester United – their co-chairman Joel Glazer (R)
Corden urged fans to remember the names of the owners who made the decision and said: ‘Don’t ever forget that it was them, those owners. They took something so pure and so beautiful and they beat the love and the joy out of it and they did it for money. They just did it for money. And it’s disgusting.’
Football governing bodies UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League, the FA and European Club Association along with football associations in Italy and Spain have shown their disapproval about the ‘closed’ Super League that goes against ‘sporting competition and integrity’.
UEFA have already threatened to ban the sides involved in the Super League from European competitions this season and also prevent their players from taking part in international football.
The Premier League’s furious 14 outcasts will hold emergency talks later today to discuss their next move following the announcement of plans to launch a European Super League.
SUPER LEAGUE FULL STATEMENT AND COMPETITION FORMAT
Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today [Sunday] come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs.
It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable. Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole.
The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.
The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid.
In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions. The Founding Clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.
• 20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
• Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game.
• An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter finals.
Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
As soon as practicable after the start of the men’s competition, a corresponding women’s league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop the women’s game.
The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues. These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion (£8.7bn) during the course of the initial commitment period of the Clubs.
In addition, the competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all Founding Clubs signing up to a spending framework. In exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion (£3bn) solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic. Florentino Perez, President of Real Madrid and the first Chairman of the Super League said: ‘We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.’
Backing the new European league, Andrea Agnelli, Chairman of Juventus and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said: ‘Our 12 Founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies. We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.’
Joel Glazer, Co-Chairman of Manchester United and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said: ‘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.’
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