Barney Ronay is so right in highlighting that greed is the motivating force behind the plans for a European Super League, and is also at the heart of past and current Conservative politics and economic policy, from Margaret Thatcher to Boris Johnson (Power grab in a pandemic: how absence of fans gave greedy owners their chance, 19 April). It is not surprising that, faced with potentially damaging allegations of sleaze and greed, and upcoming local elections, the government has taken the high moral ground in fighting the plans.
In response, perhaps Labour should remind all football fans: first, of its longstanding plans for democratic control of clubs, contained within its 2019 manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn; second, that these plans were – and still are – strongly opposed by the Conservatives as “illegally” transferring property rights from club owners; and finally, that the NHS and other major public services and utilities that have served us all so well during the pandemic wouldn’t have been created without transfers from private to public ownership.
Pudsey, West Yorkshire
The furore about the European Super League needs better direction. The current plan is a smash-and-grab raid by football’s billionaires to maximise their returns, but hidden behind the affront is a bait-and-switch plan B with Uefa’s Super League “lite”; a plan that would normally have generated intense opposition could now be nodded through as a balanced compromise.
Guaranteed winners have no place in any sport. It’s the footballing equivalent of the House of Lords.
The battle is between “bums” and “eyes”, and the latter commands the battalions. There are no Liverpool, City or United bums on seats in Beijing, Berlin and Bogotá. The opposition of football fans in the form of the real supporter rather than the virtual carries little weight with global television companies. The danger is that it’s the eyes that have it, unless the general monetisation and industrialisation of sport by the likes of Uefa is tackled rather than focusing on just this particular outrageous example of a much wider problem.
Former chair, sport intergroup, European parliament; Manchester City season ticket holder for 40 years
It is rather surprising to read that Boris Johnson is horrified at the European Super League proposals when so recently he was praising the influence of greed in the context of our successful Covid vaccination programme. Surely fans of capitalism everywhere should be loudly cheering the admirable profit-generating skills of these members of the financial premier league?
Dr Dominic Horne
The decision of a number of European football clubs to form a Super League has caused shock and horror in the football world, particularly because the founding members would remain so permanently. The idea is not original: in 1994, a number of British universities selected themselves to form the Russell Group, whose membership has remained almost unchanged, with no system of promotion or relegation. The idea was that by declaring themselves the best universities, that designation might become self-fulfilling, although, a quarter of a century on, there is much room for doubt about whether that has been achieved.
Surely the Super League breakaway is a clear example of the shits hitting the fans?