Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have sent a message to the owners of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham over European Super League plans.
The proposed plans would see the 12 founding members, three others who have not been named and a further five invited clubs compete in an annual competition alongside domestic leagues.
The 15 founding clubs would be guaranteed qualification every year, gaining access to astronomical economical advantages, and the plans have led to huge criticism throughout the game.
One of the leading critics has been Sky Sports‘ Gary Neville, who has sent a message to the owners involved in the project, saying this evening: “They’ve created a monopoly, a closed shop, a tournament where you’re guaranteed to be in it.
“West Ham and Leicester are in a Champions League place, forget it, they don’t get into the Champions League anymore, it doesn’t matter where they finish in the league.
“What’s the point? They’ll take away everything from this country: the pyramid, the sincerity of competition, the honesty and integrity of competition that we value and they’re taking it away.
“Yeah, we know that Manchester United have more money, we know that Liverpool have more money, we know that Arsenal have more money, we can live with that.
“There will always be top clubs that have more money, but they can be beaten by Sheffield United at home, they can draw with Fulham – and they’re trying to take that away to create franchise football.
“Never, it can never happen, I don’t think these six owners, I hope they’re panting hard tonight, feeling uncomfortable and their stomachs are churning and the executives and players who play for these clubs – I can’t sit here and say to the players of Liverpool and United to go on strike because that wouldn’t be right, but lads, if you’ve got it in you, you can stop this, you can mobilise it.
“Jurgen Klopp can stop it, he’s a man of integrity, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can stop it, he’s a man of integrity, they can all contribute to stopping it and we must all come together to stop it now because this is an attack by six national families on the integrity of our national sport and it must be stopped.”
Speaking about Manchester United owners, the Glazers, and how other owners have operated their clubs, Neville added: “They don’t care, and when I saw his [Joel Glazer’s] name on [the statement], I was really worried.
“I’m enthused by the reaction of the Government, by royalty, by the whole of football, by the fans, but if they get this through, if they push this through and these owners have pushed difficult things through for their clubs in the past.
“[Daniel] Levy is steel-like, the Glazers are steel-like, [Roman] Abramovich is hard as nails, he won’t care about criticism. It will change football in this country forever, forever, and we have to now mobilise, organise, it’s difficult not to get emotional and feel sick.
“But you have to write to your MPs, you’ve got to write to your local football clubs, everybody’s got to come behind this. Pundits for BBC, ITV, BT Sport, forget allegiances, forget who you support, we’ve got to come together to stop this proposal.
“This is an attack on everything that’s been important in this country, football has helped in the last 10 months in the midst of the pandemic, more than ever, to keep people going, and they’re trying to take it away from us.”
Carragher was in complete agreement. He said: “No different to Gary and every supporter up and down the country.
“What I would say is this is not Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Man City involved, this is John Henry and FSG, this is the Glazers, this is Roman Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour, Stan Kroenke, Daniel Levy – these are the people to blame for this.
“What they’re doing right now is dragging institutions we’ve seen in this country for over 100 years basically through the mud, burning the history of what those clubs are about because from your own club’s point of view, the only reason Liverpool are in this or have a chance of being in the Super League is because they’ve won six European Cups or 20 league titles, only one each came under [Liverpool owners] FSG.”