Clubs need to be truthful about ESL

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May 14, 2021
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    Fans protest on the pitch at Old TraffordManchester United fans protested on the pitch at Old Trafford against the Glazer family, who took over the club in 2005

    Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says he needs honesty from the 'big six' who were planning to join the European Super League before trust can be restored between the league and clubs.

    Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham all withdrew from the project within 48 hours after fans protested.

    "The concept was so badly wrong and handled very badly," said Masters.

    "You need truth before reconciliation."

    Speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan, he said: "The clubs involved have acknowledged that and have apologised and we're now in the process of talking to those clubs to establish the facts and establish what happened.

    "That process needs to conclude justly, efficiently and appropriately before we can move forward."

    The six clubs, plus AC Milan and Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, have been given a financial punishment by Uefa and have committed to the European governing body and its competitions.

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    Following the announcement of the ill-fated breakaway on 18 April, supporters have continue to express their anger and frustration towards their club's owners.

    Manchester United's game with Liverpool was postponed on 2 May after about 200 fans broke into Old Trafford to protest against the Glazer family's ownership of the club.

    More than 1,000 Arsenal supporters also gathered outside Emirates Stadium shortly before their league game with Everton in April to object against owner Stan Kroenke's role in the failed project.

    Although Masters acknowledged the need for more supporters to be present at board level at football clubs, he said the top-flight had a good record on managing issues since its inception in 1992.

    "I think it was the fans' voice that gave a definitive answer to the European Super League," he said. "But we also want to unite all 20 clubs around a strong set of principles.

    "You see some clubs coming forward now with new proposals of fan representation and indeed, many of our clubs at the moment have supporter advisory boards in place that guarantee representation on core issues.

    "Given the events of the last month, we have to be open to regulatory change, but I don't think the answer is an independent regulator.

    "I would defend the Premier League's record in regulating its clubs and conducting its business over the last 30 years and indeed, put forward the last 18 months, when football has had to come together to keep itself together during the pandemic, keep the show on the road, keep fans entertained and see off various threats along the way.

    "Hopefully now we can come together around the new television proposals, which can underscore the solidarity within the game."

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