European Super League: Boris Johnson likens planned football competition to a ‘cartel’

Boris Johnson has described the planned European Super League as a "kind of cartel".

Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have sparked outrage with their plans for the breakaway competition.

It has received a very strong backlash, with players, pundits, other Premier League clubs and politicians saying the proposals are motivated solely by greed.

Fans have gathered outside stadiums of the six English clubs involved with placards reading: "RIP football" and "created by the poor, stolen by the rich".

Supporters outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge have stopped traffic with their protest.

It has since emerged Chelsea and Man City are set to pull out of the new league.

The six other teams who signed up to the breakaway competition are Spain’s Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid, along with Italy’s AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.

At a Downing Street news briefing on Tuesday, the prime minister said the government will do all it can to prevent it going ahead.

"How can it be right to have a situation in which you create a kind of cartel that stops clubs competing against each other, playing against each other properly, with all the hope and excitement that gives to the fans up and down the country?," he said.

"Football was invented in this country, these clubs, these names, originate from famous towns and cities in our country.

"I don’t think it right that they should be somehow dislocated from their hometowns and home cities and turned into international brands and commodities without any reference to the fans who have loved them all their lives," he said.

Mr Johnson said he believes the plans "offend against the basic principles of competition", adding: "Be in no doubt that we don’t support it."

Repeating earlier comments, he said the government will back the FA and Premier League in the hope of "thwarting this proposal before it goes much further".

He again refused to rule out "legislative action", but did not elaborate on what that might be.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told Sky News on Tuesday that the league had been "dreamed up by money men" and "must be stopped".

Earlier on Tuesday the PM said "no action is off the table" and the government is "exploring every possibility" to try to block the new competition.

Similarly the Premier League says it is "considering all actions available to prevent it from progressing".

Fourteen top clubs that are not involved in the plans say they "unanimously and vigorously rejected" them.

Questions have been raised over the power of government to intervene in the matter.

But Downing Street has not ruled out stopping players of the clubs involved getting work visas or withdrawing police funding for match days.

It has also suggested it may try to recruit the help of ministers in Spain and Italy to help coordinate efforts.

Separately, UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it will be "carefully considering" the league from a competition perspective.

But earlier a Spanish commercial court in Madrid said that FIFA nor UEFA should impose sanctions on any clubs or players until the matter has been dealt with properly.

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