Sir Alex: Super League a ‘move away’ from history

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has said a breakaway European Super League would be a move away from 70 years of football history and that fans love the Champions League as it is.

Sources told ESPN on Sunday that 15 of Europe’s biggest clubs are in talks to launch a breakaway league, planned to start in time for the 2023-24 season, with a $6 billion (£4.3bn) fund backing the project.

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A total of six Premier League clubs, including United, had signed up to plans for a new league which would be a rival to UEFA’s Champions League.

Ferguson, who won the Champions League twice with United after having European success with Scottish club Aberdeen, told Reuters that he enjoyed “special nights” in the Champions League.

“Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football,” he told Reuters. “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.

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.

He added: “I’m not sure Manchester United are involved in this, as I am not part of the decision making process.”

The United Kingdom government also commented on the plans, with culture minister Olivier Dowden saying: “Football supporters are the heartbeat of our national sport and any major decisions made should have their backing.

“With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game.”

Gary Neville, Ferguson’s former captain, interrupted his commentary on Sky Sports coverage of United’s victory against Burnley to criticise the breakaway plans.

“I’m not against the modernisation of football competitions, with have the Premier League, we have the Champions League,” he said.

“But to bring forward proposals in the midst of COVID, in the midst of the economic crisis that exists for all clubs is an absolute scandal.

“United and the rest of the big six clubs that have signed up to it against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.

“Are Arsenal in that? They have just drawn with Fulham, Manchester United are drawing with Burnley. I cannot concentrate on the game. To sign up to the Super League during a season is a joke, they should deduct points off all six of them.”