Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand says that he cannot support his club’s plans to form part of a new European Super League.
Twelve clubs, including the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’, announced bombshell plans to break away on Sunday. United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City will all play a part if the plans go ahead. Furthermore, the biggest clubs in Spain and Italy have all signed up.
The Super League says that it wants to start “as soon as is practicable”. However, the plans have already met fierce criticism from governing bodies and pundits alike.
Gary Neville wants the Premier League’s cohort to face relegation, while Jamie Carragher said that he feels “sickened” by Liverpool’s involvement.
Rio Ferdinand has also had his say, labelling the plans as “war on football”.
He told BT Sport: “100%. I think this breakaway group of teams, this is a war on football. It’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing. And it goes against everything football is about.
“There’s no consideration for the history, for the people in the different parts of the pyramid below the top, top teams that they’re trying to separate from.
“It’s a disgrace, I can’t believe it. How have they got the audacity to do it in the climate we’re in at the moment with the pandemic around the world?
“I think the element of being anti-competitive goes against everything football is about. Relegation, promotion, being rewarded for winning, being punished for not winning: these are things that add to the value of our game that we love.
“It shows me that these people have no idea what football is about. It’s purely a business transaction, that’s it. There’s no thought for anyone else in the pyramid, there’s no consideration at all. I can’t believe it.”
Ferdinand won a host of silverware at United, made possible by the competitive nature of the current football structure.
Indeed, it is the same structure that an exclusive competition such as the European Super League would take away.
Ferdinand slams new Man Utd low
United’s owners, the Glazer family, have faced fierce criticism for a number of years.
Ferdinand added on United’s involvement: “I’m embarrassed. There’s been so many things thrown at the owners over the past few years, but this situation now – to be a part of that group that want to break away and leave everybody for dead – that’s an embarrassment.
“I can’t believe it. I’m sorry, I’m a Man United fan, I love the club, but I can’t stand by and support something like that at all.”
Sir Alex Ferguson slams Super League
Ferdinand’s fellow United icon Sir Alex Ferguson has also voiced his disagreement to the plans.
He said: “Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football. Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest,” Ferguson told the Reuters news agency.
“Everton are spending £500 million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League. Fans all over love the competition as it is.
“In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.
“I’m not sure [if] Manchester United are involved in this, as I am not part of the decision making process,” he added.