UK minister says will act to stop Super League
April 19 2021 11:11 PM
(File) Britain's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden (REUTERS/Joh
(File) Britain's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden (REUTERS/John Sibley)

Reuters/ London

Britain will do everything possible to block a Super League proposed by 12 European soccer clubs, sports minister Oliver Dowden said yesterday, adding he would review government support for clubs and would not rule out windfall taxes.
Dowden said he had met with the Premier League, the Football Association (FA) and the president of UEFA, to discuss the plans that involve six English clubs including both Manchester United and City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to object to the plans on Sunday evening and Dowden said the government would act to block the project even if football authorities could not.
“Be in no doubt, if they can’t act, we will,” he told parliament. “We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening.
“We are examining every option from governance reform to competition law and mechanisms that allow football to take place. Put simply, we will be reviewing everything the government does to support these clubs to play... We will do what ever it takes to protect our national game.”
Asked whether the government measures under consideration included a windfall tax on breakaway clubs, Dowden said he was looking at all options.
“In essence we’re looking at ‘what does the government do to facilitate matches and facilitate those clubs?’ and looking at whether we should continue to provide that support, because it does not strike me that the government should be providing that support in the face of this proposal,” he said.
 Other measures could include reviewing policing support for games and visas for players.
Meanwhile, The Spanish government yesterday came out against the formation of a breakaway Super League by 12 clubs including its own Real Madrid and Barcelona, and its sports minister said any changes to soccer organisations can only be made by agreement.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA, politicians and fans all lashed out against the move, part of a battle for control of the game its multi-billion dollar revenues.
“The Spanish government does not support the initiative to create a soccer Super League promoted by various European clubs, including the Spanish ones,” the government said in a statement after Sports Minister Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes held talks with UEFA and other associations, as well as the rebel clubs.
Uribes said any league changes must benefit the Spanish league, the Spanish national squad and Spanish clubs including the small ones: “We don’t want it to affect (Spanish soccer), and if it does, we want it to affect (it) in a good way.” Spain’s football league, La Liga, and a host of its other clubs have added their name to a long list of institutions rejecting the idea of a European Super League.
Spanish media company Mediapro said they would not break their UEFA broadcasting contracts running until 2024 to broadcast the breakaway games.
Britain’s Prince William, President of the English Football Association, also criticised the planned breakaway Super League proposed by 12 European soccer clubs, saying he shared fans concerns about the idea.
“Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core,” the prince, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, wrote on Twitter.
“I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love,” added the tweet which was signed “W”, meaning it had come from the prince himself.

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