The English Premier League has announced it is preparing a new “Owners’ Charter” in response to the mooted European Super League, while the Football Association has commenced a probe into the breakaway competition.
The announcements from the two organisations follows concerted fan protests, and widespread condemnation within the game, at the actions of the six Premier League clubs involved in the ESL. This came to a head on Sunday, as the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford was postponed amid fan protests against the ESL and the home club’s American owners, the Glazer family.
Both United and Liverpool, along with Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, were among the 12 clubs which were initially announced as members of the ESL collective. The six Premier League clubs involved in the plot on April 20 declared their intention to withdraw from the ESL, just two days after plans were revealed. They were then joined by Spanish LaLiga team Atlético Madrid, as well as newly-crowned Italian Serie A champion Inter Milan.
In a statement issued yesterday (Monday), the Premier League said the events of the last two weeks had “challenged the foundations and resolve of English football”. The League said it has prepared a series of measures to “enshrine the core principles” of the professional game – an open pyramid, progression through sporting merit and the highest standards of sporting integrity. These measures are designed to stop the threat of breakaway leagues in the future.
The Premier League, supported by the FA, has proposed a new Owners’ Charter, that all club owners will be required to sign up to, and will commit them to the core principles of the Premier League, adding that breaches of these rules and the Charter will be subject to significant sanctions.
Additional rules and regulations are being targeted to ensure the principles of the Premier League and open competition are protected. The League said it is enlisting the support of Government to bring in “appropriate legislation” to protect football’s open pyramid, principles of sporting merit and the integrity of the football community.
The Premier League added: “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. The actions of a minority of those present at Old Trafford on Sunday have no justification and will be investigated by the Premier League and the FA as well as by the Greater Manchester Police.
“The actions of a few clubs cannot be allowed to create such division and disruption. 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 said it launched an official inquiry last week into the formation of the European Super League and the involvement of the six English clubs. It added: “We wrote to all of the clubs to formally request all relevant information and evidence regarding their participation.
“Once we have the required information, we will consider what appropriate steps to take. Clearly what happened was unacceptable and could have caused great harm to clubs at every level of English football.”
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) last week approved an ‘anti-Super League’ rule which will prevent clubs who compete in competitions not recognised by world and European governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, from registering for domestic events.
The move made the FIGC the first major governing body to take concrete action against the European Super League proposals. Serie A clubs Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan were three of the 12 clubs which were initially announced as members of the ESL group.
Florentino Pérez, president of LaLiga club Real Madrid and founding chairman of the European Super League, earlier maintained that the 12 clubs that signed up to the breakaway competition agreed a binding contract committing them to the project.