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European Super League: YouGov poll finds 79 per cent of fans oppose elite competition

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Matt Mathers
·3-min read
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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

An overwhelming majority of football fans are against the creation of an elite European Super League (ESL) which the sport's fans and governing bodies say will destroy the game.

Seventy-nine per cent of respondents to a YouGov survey conducted on Monday said they oppose the proposals for the breakaway tournament. Some 68 per cent were strongly opposed, with just 14 per cent in favour.

The snap poll came just hours after the plans were widely condemned by MPs on all sides of the House of Commons, with culture secretary Oliver Dowden declaring the government will do "whatever it takes" to stop the league from taking place.

The football world was rocked on Sunday evening when 12 European clubs - including English Premier League teams Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City - announced that they want to create a new competition to rival the Champions League.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid from LaLiga in Spain, plus Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan from Serie A in Italy, are among some of the other top European sides involved.

Those 12 "founding" teams will be joined by a further three, all of whom would play in the ESL every year without having to qualify. Five more clubs will enter the competition based on the previous season’s performance.

But the set-up has been widely criticised by a host of footballing authorities and fan groups, who say the ESL goes against the spirit of competition and is motivated by greed, with the teams participating in it reportedly set to receive more revenue than they would get in the Champions League.

Those sentiments were echoed in the YouGov poll, with 89 per cent of 1,730 respondents saying they thought the move was motivated by financial gain.

Just over half think the so-called ‘big six’ English clubs should be kicked out of the Premier League. Fifty-five per cent think they should face financial penalties, while 32 per cent think they should face points deductions.

Just over a fifth (22 per cent) think they should be stripped of existing domestic titles and only 10 per cent think there should be no punishments whatsoever.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Dowden said the government would work with the game's authorities to ensure that the plans could not go ahead as suggested.

And Duke of Cambridge signalled his dismay at the proposed breakaway, saying he shared the concerns of fans about "the damage it risks causing to the game we love".

William, who is the current president of the Football Association, tweeted: "Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community - from the top level to the grassroots - and the values of competition and fairness at its core."

In his Commons statement, Mr Dowden said that if the sport was unable to act, then ministers were prepared to step in to protect the national game.

"Be in no doubt, if they can't act, we will. We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening," he said.

"We are examining every option from governance to competition law to mechanisms that allow football to take place.

"We will be reviewing everything government does to support these clubs to play. We will do whatever it takes to protect our national game."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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