The Premier League has laid out the first stage of its response to the failed plans for a European Super League, insisting the six breakaway clubs will be “held accountable” for their actions and promising a change in regulations to “ensure the principles of the Premier League and of open competition are respected”.
Working alongside the Football Association and other stakeholders in the game, new rules will be developed to “protect our game”, the league has said, including a new “owners’ charter”. It comes at the same time as the FA opens an official inquiry into the abortive ESL, with the governing body requesting the “Big Six” clubs hand over “information and evidence” regarding their participation in the scheme.
The proposed new competition involving Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham lived and died over 48 hours, but its influence may be longer lasting as the Premier League and the FA suggested the possibility of tough actions in response to the breakaway plan.
“The actions of a few clubs cannot be allowed to create such division and disruption,” the Premier League said in a statement. “We are determined to establish the truth of what happened and hold those clubs accountable for their decisions and actions. We and the FA are pursuing these objectives quickly and appropriately, consulting with fans and government.”
The FA revealed it had been in discussion with government over the possibility of legislation to prevent another breakaway, which could follow the results of their inquiry. “Once we have the required information, we will consider what appropriate steps to take,” a statement said. “Clearly what happened was unacceptable and could have caused great harm to clubs at every level of English football.”
As well as supporting the FA in a push for legislation the Premier League said it would itself implement further rules and regulations to protect the “principles” of the league, which are understood to include not just a commitment to the pyramid but success via “sporting merit” and the upholding of “sporting integrity”. Furthermore, the League said it would implement “a new Owners’ Charter that all club owners will be required to sign up to committing them to the core principles of the Premier League”.
Both bodies also pledged to listen to supporters in any changes that are brought about. But the Premier League statement also urged fans protesting against their clubs’ involvement to remain peaceful after United’s game against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday after some supporters invaded the Old Trafford pitch.
“Opposition to the proposed Super League united the whole of football, with the fans’ voice clearly heard. The Premier League recognises the strength of feeling and the right of fans to know what is happening. We are committed to maintaining close dialogue with supporters and their representatives, as we work with the FA and government to identify solutions, but ask that all protests are peaceful.”
It is understood Uefa has yet to decide on potential sanctions could be imposed on the 12 clubs who signed up for the Super League after its president, Aleksander Ceferin, warned they would “suffer the consequences” of “their mistake”.