Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Ander Herrera says the formation of the European Super League would be “the rich taking the sport from the people”.
Controversial plans were unveiled last night by 12 clubs to form a breakaway new league, with six Premier League clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, signed up to the proposals.
Herrera – whose club PSG have not been named in the plans for the league so far – made an impassioned plea in a post on Twitter in which he stated that if plans to go ahead with the league were successful, it would end the dreams of the fans of all other clubs not included in it.
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The ex-Manchester United midfielder wrote: “I fell in love with popular football, with the football of the fans, with the dream of seeing the team of my heart compete against the greatest.
“If this European super league advances, those dreams are over, the illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants of being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end.
“I love football and I cannot remain silent about this. I believe in an improved Champions League but not in the rich stealing what the people created, which is nothing other than the most beautiful sport on the planet.”
Former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil added his voice to those criticising the plans, with a social media post in a similar tone.
Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League – not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there…⚽💔
Ozil, who is now playing for Turkish club Fenerbahce, said: “Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League – not any Super League.
“The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there.”
Everton midfielder Yannick Bolasie, who is currently on loan at Middlesbrough, did not hold back in his assessment of the plans, writing on Twitter: “Some real mercenaries…all values and history thrown out the window.
“I was a fan before I played football, I’m a fan now and will be after I finish playing… It’s not about me or anyone else it’s about the millions of fans who follow their teams week in week out regardless of success/riches… Funny how it starts getting more level and man jump.”
Meanwhile, Everton forward Richarlison praised Sky Sports‘ Gary Neville’s views on the ESL, retweeting a video of the former Manchester United defender’s comments alongside clapping emojis.
Football will be in the near future on a brink of complete collapse. Nobody is thinking about the bigger picture, only the financial side.
I still believe we can solve this unpleasant situation.
Ex-Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren believes the formation of a European Super League would put the very existence of football in doubt and wrote on Twitter: “Football will be in the near future on a brink of complete collapse.
“Nobody is thinking about the bigger picture, only the financial side. I still believe we can solve this unpleasant situation.”
Today I wake up to crazy news! 😡 An insult to my belief: football is happiness, freedom, passion, fans and is for everyone. This project is disgusting, not fair and I’m disappointed to see clubs I represented involved. Fight against this! 💪🏻❤️⚽️ #StopTheSuperLeague
Another former Arsenal player, Lukas Podolski, branded the project ‘disgusting’ and urged fans to fight against it.
Podolski wrote on Twitter: “Today I wake up to crazy news! An insult to my belief: football is happiness, freedom, passion, fans and is for everyone. This project is disgusting, not fair and I’m disappointed to see clubs I represented involved. Fight against this!”
FIFPro: European Super League is unacceptable
World players’ union FIFPro says the organisation “vigorously” opposes the formation of a European Super League, adding it is committed to working with all parties in order to address the “existing flaws” within the game.
The statement read: “This decision leaves players and their unions with many concerns and questions about its impact not only on the fabric and cultural identity of football but also more practically on their careers.
“Football is built on its unique social and cultural heritage, which not only gives it an unparalleled relationship to its fans but also has created the engine to spread the professional game like no other sport.
“For this to be sustained, a healthy and solidarity-based cooperation between domestic and international competitions is critical. A new competition undermining this might cause irreparable damage.
“It is important to note that European football’s arrival at this point of potential disruption is a reflection of a governance in which some have enjoyed disproportionate powers and most others including those at the heart of the game – the players but also fans – are largely overlooked.
“Threats of a breakaway competition and subsequent concessions to reform European football competitions have shaped decision-making for years. This dynamic has replaced transparent and inclusive discussions on the opportunities of competition reforms for all players, fans, clubs, leagues, and federations.
“Players continue to be used as assets and leverage in these negotiations. This is unacceptable for FIFPRO, our 64 national player associations and the 60,000 players we represent. We will vigorously oppose measures by either side that would impede the rights of players, such as exclusion from their national teams.
“In the best interests of players, and the whole industry, we are committed to working with all stakeholders towards decisions that support all levels of the game and repair its existing flaws.”
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