Manchester United icon Sir Alex Ferguson ‘not involved’ in European Super League talks as Rio Ferdinand joins Gary Neville in condemnation of new competition
Manchester United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand joined an ever-growing list of high-profile figures in football to condemn the European Super League bombshell plans. On Sunday, it was announced that Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City will be among 12 clubs founding a new rival competition to the Champions League. […]
Manchester United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand joined an ever-growing list of high-profile figures in football to condemn the European Super League bombshell plans.
On Sunday, it was announced that Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City will be among 12 clubs founding a new rival competition to the Champions League.
The news has led to a huge backlash among fans, with Gary Neville slamming the plans as an ‘absolute joke’ and calling for the Premier League’s big six to be punished.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as several governing bodies, also spoke out against the ‘damaging’ proposals, which would change the face of English football forever.
And United icons Ferguson and Ferdinand joined the ranks speaking out against the breakaway.
Ferdinand, a pundit on BT Sport’s coverage of the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton, said: “This is, for me, a war on football. It’s a disgrace, it’s embarrassing and goes against everything football is about.
“It’s a closed shop for these bigwigs and it’s completely and utterly only about one thing and that’s money. The rich getting richer and the others not even being considered.
“How they’ve got the audacity to do it in the climate we’re in at the moment… the pandemic around the world. People are struggling all over the world, and this lot…colluding with this idea that they’ve hatched – and to break it like this.
“The element of being anti-competitive goes against everything football is about. It screams (that) these people have no idea what football’s about. It’s purely a business transaction. The people who make this game special are not being considered.”
On the United link, Ferdinand continued: “There’s been so much thrown at the owners these past years. This situation now, to be part of a breakaway group and leave everybody for dead, that’s an embarrassment. I can’t believe it.
“I’m a United fan and I love the club but I can’t stand by and support something like that.”
Ferdinand’s comments came after his former manager Ferguson warned the proposals would crush the dreams of football fans around the continent.
‘Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football. Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest,” he told Reuters.
“Everton are spending £500 million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League. Fans all over love the competition as it is,” he said.
“In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.
“I’m not sure Manchester United are involved in this, as I am not part of the decision making process,” he added.
Former England striker Gary Lineker, meanwhile, wrote on social media: “Sense this Super League plot will die on its preposterous and avaricious a***.”
How the European Super League will work
It will be a new European competition between 20 top clubs
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as the inital 12 founders
Three more founding clubs will join while a further five teams will qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season
Games will be played in midweek and all clubs will remain in their domestic leagues
There will be two groups of 10 clubs each, playing home and away fixtures within the group each year
The top three in each group will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals
Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions
A two-leg knockout format will then be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue