Manchester United’s involvement in the ’embarrassing’ European Super League has been slammed by Rio Ferdinand.
Ferdinand also stated that the clubs involved would be sanctioned immediately, calling their actions a “attack on the football.”
The Premier League’s ‘big six’ – Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Manchester United – declared their breakaway from UEFA on Sunday, joining six other major European football clubs.
Rio Ferdinand has expressed his displeasure with his former club’s participation in the recent European Super League, calling it “embarrassing.”
Despite statements from the governing bodies of Serie A, Premier League, and La Liga, as well as Uefa, condemning the plans and threatening to block the 12 clubs, the Super League management declared last night that it would proceed with the formation.
With this new league in place, Ferdinand thinks there is a chance the Premier League’s “big six” will break up, which he believes will be a “hammer blow” to the domestic football pyramid.
He accused the “big six” of being greedy and afraid of the consequences.
When asked if the clubs should be sanctioned immediately, Ferdinand told BT Sport: “100%.” This breakaway group of teams, I believe, is fighting football. It’s a travesty. It’s humiliating.
“It also goes against all that football stands for. For these bigwigs, it’s a closed store, and everything revolves around money. The wealthy get wealthier, and the rest of us are forgotten.
“There is little regard for tradition, for the people in the various sections of the pyramid below the top, for the top teams that they are attempting to separate from. It’s a travesty; I can’t believe it.
“How did they have the audacity to do so in the current atmosphere, with the pandemic sweeping the globe?
“We are struggling in the streets, people are struggling all over the world, and these people are sitting in their own little bar or space somewhere, talking and talking and colluding over this little idea they’ve got, then coming out and breaking it like this.
“It’s a shame, and I believe the anti-competitive aspect goes against all football stands for. Relegation, promotion, being praised for winning, and being punished for losing are all elements that contribute to the value of our beloved sport.
“It demonstrates to me that these people have no concept of football. That’s all there is to it. It’s just a business transaction. There isn’t a single thought or concern about anyone else in the pyramid. I can’t believe what I’m seeing.
“The people who really love this game and make it what it is – we’ve been here without fans all this time, and this game doesn’t play the same with them. And they are the ones who will suffer the most, as well as the grassroots.
“The people who make this game unique aren’t being taken into account; it’s the people at the top of the game who are making choices based solely on their wallets.’
“I’m embarrassed,” Ferdinand said of Manchester United’s involvement in the breakaway. There have been a lot of stuff thrown at the owners in the last few years, but being a member of the party that wants to break up and leave everybody for the dead is an embarrassment.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I’m sorry, I’m a Manchester United fan who adores the club, but I can’t help anything like that.’
“Some fans would choose to see their team play against Barcelona one week and Real Madrid the next, and then play against X, Y, and Z because those are the major glamour matches. But that is a selfish viewpoint; it does not consider anyone else in the pyramid, particularly those at the bottom.
“You can’t have a greedy community of teams and individuals who are only concerned about themselves. This game is based on teams from all over the world, at all levels, competing, being sponsored, and receiving assistance from the top teams.
“That money flows through to these clubs and the other major teams in the Premier League, and it’s required. We need them to be present and concentrated on the task at hand. What else are you looking for besides money? The Champions League is there; it’s a great tournament, a great competition; what else are you looking for besides money?
“And they’ll never be demoted?” They’ll never be able to leave this league? Isn’t it tedious? Not only is it thrilling to win the league, but it’s also thrilling to see who goes down. It’s a critical component of our strategy.
“Which player will be promoted from the Championship? Norwich has shown up, and it’s a fantastic tale. And all of the excitement isn’t just about the best teams; it’s about everybody. It’s not just about the people at the top, the glamour departments, and the glamour ties; there’s more to it.”