Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville has reacted furiously to the news that six Premier League clubs have agreed to take part in a new breakaway European Super League.
Shortly before Sunday night’s announcement, Neville said it was time to “wrestle back power” from the clubs involved, saying they were being motivated by “pure greed”. Speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports, Neville took aim at the clubs involved, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool, alongside European giants such as Real Madrid, Milan, Inter, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Juventus.
“I’m disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool the most,” Neville said. “They’re breaking away to a competition they can’t be relegated from? It’s an absolute disgrace. We have to wrestle back power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league – and that includes my club.
“It’s pure greed, they’re impostors. The owners of Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City have nothing to do with football in this country. Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham aren’t even in the Champions League. Have they even got the right to be in there? They’re an absolute joke. Time has come now to have independent regulators to stop these clubs from having the power base. Enough is enough.”
Neville added that he believes the clubs should be punished by the Premier League with points deductions, have “money taken off them” and also attacked those involved for planning such a move during a global pandemic, when many clubs in the lower leagues are struggling for mere survival.
“Deduct them all points, put them at the bottom of the league, and take their money off them,” Neville said of the clubs linked to the breakaway league. “Seriously, you have got to stamp on this. It’s a criminal act against football fans in this country. Punish them. They [club owners] will probably hide in a few weeks, and say it was nothing to do with them, they were only talking about it. Seriously, in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis and these lot are having Zoom calls about breaking away and basically creating more greed? Joke.”
Neville’s former manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he was “not sure” Manchester United are part of the project but made his opposition clear. “In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights,” Ferguson told Reuters. “I’m not sure Manchester United are involved in this, as I am not part of the decision-making process.”
Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: “Sense this Super League plot will die on its preposterous and avaricious arse.”
Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, tweeted: “Football supporters are the heartbeat of our national sport and any major decisions made should have their backing. With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game.”