Sunak will ban Premier League clubs from joining the European Super League

Rishi Sunak’s government has vowed to ban Premier League clubs from joining Europe’s Super League as the breakaway outfit seeks a fresh start.

The European Court of Justice ruled that Uefa and Fifa acted unlawfully when they stopped the league – opening new efforts by A22 Sports to boost the controversial project.

The ‘big six’ English clubs sparked outrage from their fans and resistance from Boris Johnson’s government in 2021 when they secretly agreed to play in the new league.

In response to Thursday’s explosive court ruling, the Sunak government made it clear that upcoming legislation, the Football Governance Bill, would be designed to prevent British clubs from joining a new league.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the previous attempt to create a breakaway league was a “pivotal moment in English football and was widely condemned by fans, clubs and the government”.

They said: “We took decisive action at the time by launching the fan-led review of football governance, which called for the creation of a new independent regulator for English football.”

The DCMS statement continued: “We will shortly bring forward legislation that will make this a reality and will discourage clubs from participating in similar breakaway competitions in the future.”

The attempt to launch the ESL in April 2021 led to street protests by angry supporters


Six Premier League clubs had signed up to the ESL plans – Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur – sparking cries of outrage across the football world.

A review led by former sports minister Tracey Crouch found the government is pushing ahead with plans for a new football regulator, with new legal powers to stop clubs leaving current British leagues to take part in rogue ventures.

Making the announcement in April 2021, Mr Johnson mocked the European Super League’s unpopularity with fans and vowed to prevent major English clubs from joining. The then prime minister condemned the idea as a “cartel” and said it “violates the fundamental principles of competition.”

Although the ESL remains prominently supported by Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​it is believed that England’s big six – disillusioned by the reaction two years ago – have ignored the plan.

Manchester United said on Thursday it remains “fully committed” to working within the Premier League and UEFA structures. And the Premier League said it “continues to reject any concept” of a European Super League.

‘Big Six’ clubs have been condemned for their first attempt to join the breakaway league


England’s top flight said it remained committed to the “clear principles of open competition” and said fans “have made it clear time and again that they oppose ‘breakaway’ competition.”

The original plan was condemned for attempting to ensure fair competition by sealing off the elite clubs from the rest to protect lucrative TV contracts.

But the revised plan, put forward by ESL supporters A22 on Thursday, envisioned a broader system of 64 men’s clubs that would include promotion and regulation across three tiers. A planned two-tier women’s league would include 32 clubs.

Following the landmark court ruling, the Football Supporters’ Association condemned the so-called “zombie” project. “There is no place for an ill-conceived, breakaway Super League… While the corpse may continue to twitch in the European courts, no English team will join.”

Senior Conservative MP Dame Caroline Dinenage – chair of the culture, media and sport select committee – warned the big six clubs against embracing ESL’s new push to get going.

“The announcement of the European Super League in 2021 prioritized finances over fans and any revival is not in the interests of English football,” she said.

She backed the government’s plan to ban clubs from joining, adding: “I hope that in 2021 English clubs have learned from the response and will focus on fan engagement and the much-needed reforms to football governance that the government promised.”

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