Former Socceroo Craig Foster has weighed in on the Big Six’s bid to form a European Super League – and praised fans for their ‘venomous’ reactions to the announcement.
Twelve teams, including six from England, intend to create and govern their own European competition, much to the incredulity of fans and leagues across the continent.
Foster told the Today show on Tuesday morning that the ‘earthquake’ announcement goes against the founding principles of the last 150 years.
‘Essentially, they are trying to replace a competition we all love which is called the Champions League which has been going for almost seven decades now,’ he said.
Football fans opposing the European Super League outside Old Trafford in Manchester on Monday
Foster said the breakaway Super League would deny other clubs – including over 200 clubs across Europe – the opportunity to play in the ‘elite’ competition.
‘The problem with that is it doesn’t allow the rest of the clubs either in England or across Europe to be able to get into that elite competition,’ he said.
Foster said the twelve teams, which are being referred to as the ‘dirty dozen’, are the ‘most prestigious and the richest clubs’.
He compared the league to if FIFA decided to cut the number of teams allowed to play in the World Cup – and said Australia would be left out in the cold.
‘From an Australian perspective it’s like this – and it is disgraceful and the venomous reaction by fans across Europe and indeed around the world is absolutely correct,’ he said.
‘It would be like saying the World Cup now is only for the top 32 nations.
Former Socceroo Craig Foster weighed in on the Big Six’s bid to form a European Super League on Tuesday morning
Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the six English clubs who have signed up to the deeply unpopular European Super League
‘In other words, the smaller nations around the world – that includes us because often we’re ranked outside of that – can’t play in this most prestigious competition because the big nations want to take majority of money for themselves.
Foster said ‘solidarity’ in football means that everyone should be able to share in the game and that the competitions should remain open.
‘That’s why its critical that this is beaten down by fans around the world and they’re doing a great job,’ he said.
A ‘nuclear war’ broke out in football over the proposals, with fans threatening to overthrow the billionaire owners of the six teams involved.
Arsenal fans were on Monday seen hanging signs calling for their owner to quit the club, while Leeds United fans were seen burning a Liverpool shirt outside Elland Road – where the two sides played in the Premier League.
Earlier, Prince William, who is the current president of the FA, spoke against the European Super League project, saying it risked ‘damaging the game we love’.
In another twist in the jaw-dropping saga, the Government threatened to step in – with ministers vowing to do ‘whatever it takes to protect the national game’.
Craig Foster is seen playing for Australia during an international friendly match in Sydney in 2000
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City have signed up to the Super League plan, joining teams from Italy and Spain, provoking outrage across the sport.
As well as the six English clubs, the Super League plan also involves Spanish sides Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan.
The proposal has support from investment bank JP Morgan, which will provide debt financing for the competition.
It is understood that it will underwrite around six billion US dollars (£4.3 billion) in loans for teams involved.
It would see the breakaway teams create a competition to rival the Champions League, but it would not feature relegation or promotion – leading to the accusations of a closed shop for the richest clubs.
Teams would play each other in midweek while still competing in their domestic leagues.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League Trophy on Monday