The ‘Big Six’ English football clubs could still face Premier League sanctions despite backing out of the European Super League.
On Sunday night (18 April), six Premier League clubs including Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Chelsea announced they had signed up to be founding members of the new European Super League competition, alongside clubs from Italy and Spain.
However, by Wednesday morning (21 April) the so-called ‘Big Six’ English clubs had pulled out after a huge backlash from fans, governing bodies and other clubs, alongside their own players and managers.
Some of these withdrawals were marked by apologies, including from Liverpool principal owner John W Henry, who took responsibility for the “disruption” caused by the project in a video message to supporters.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club “regret the anxiety and upset caused by the proposal” and Arsenal apologised for their “mistake” in signing up for the venture.
However, in the case of Manchester United, their executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced he would leave the club by the end of the year.
On Wednesday morning, Brighton chief executive Paul Barber called for “appropriate action” to be taken against the clubs involved, even though by then they had each indicated their intention to withdraw from the Super League.
The Football Supporters’ Association also said that fans “could not take their foot off the accelerator” after helping sway the clubs to change tack.
The Association said it was important that football did not ignore the recommendations of the fan-led review, which the Government launched in response to the Super League announcement.
The review will look into the “financial sustainability of the game, governance and regulation and the merits of an independent regulator,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also told MPs.
‘This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the announcements of the six English clubs’ withdrawals was “the right result”.
Mr Johnson said on Twitter: “I welcome last night’s announcement.
“This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country.
“We must continue to protect our cherished national game.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, the Prime Minister has also said a “root-and-branch” review into the way football is run will consider how to boost the role of fans.
Ministers have also indicated that plans under consideration also include an Ofcom-style regulator for the sport.