Everton have strongly criticised the “preposterous arrogance” of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ and accused them of “betraying” football supporters around the country with their European Super League plan.
The Merseyside club, whose neighbours Liverpool have joined Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham as well as AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid in signing up for a breakaway competition, have urged the rebels to withdraw their proposals.
In a statement from their board of directors, the Toffees said: “The self-proclaimed Super Six appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game – including their own – by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat.
“The backlash is understandable and deserved – and has to be listened to.
“This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.
“On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practises that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.”
In the statement, Everton make little secret of their contempt for those behind the move.
It added: “Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs.
“Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests. Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game. Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table. Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond.”
News of the proposal, which emerged on Sunday, has prompted a backlash from governing bodies, managers, players, fans and politicians, with many accusing the backers of wanting to create a closed shop by establishing a competition from which they could never be relegated.
However, former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has predicted that the Super League will never get off the ground in its current format and urged its architects not to kill the “dream” of football.
The Swede told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can see that something will happen and something will be changed.
“But that six, 12 teams in Europe, or 20 teams you’re taking about, would create their own league? I can’t see that, I can absolutely not see it and I strongly say, ‘No, don’t do it’ because that will take away the dream of football.”
The Premier League’s record goalscorer Alan Shearer expressed his “shock and disbelief and disgust” at the move, and suggested the tide of fury which has greeted it might prompt some of those involved to think again.
Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Michael Owen urged the people behind the plan to “let the people have their game back”.
Writing on Twitter, Owen said: “It’s an ill-thought through idea that can not and will not work.
“Protecting the football pyramid is paramount and any proposal as radical as this requires all clubs and their fans to support it. This support should have been sought at the outset.
“It wasn’t and as such it’s doomed to fail. Bin it now and let the people have their game back.”