The six English football clubs that backed the European Super League will pay a combined £22m as they seek to move on from their role in the breakaway competition that provoked a fierce backlash.
The “gesture of goodwill” follows similar sanctions by Uefa, the governing body for European football, with the game’s authorities keen to ensure deterrents are in place to prevent future breakaway projects.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will share the collective cost, which is a fraction of their combined £2.6bn revenues for the 2019/20 season. The money will fund grassroots football and community programmes.
The six have agreed to rule changes that mean any future attempts to launch new competitions will be punished with points deductions and fines. Any one club would be docked 30 points and fined an additional £25m.
The Premier League, the world’s most lucrative domestic football competition, and the Football Association, the game’s governing body in England, announced the payment on Wednesday, adding that the six clubs had once again acknowledged their “mistake”.
“The Premier League and the FA have worked closely together throughout this process and this agreement brings both investigations into the matter to a conclusion,” they said.
The Super League sought to overhaul the pyramid structure of European football but failed to win the support of fans. Since the project’s effective collapse, the Premier League has been working to ensure there can be no repeat of the attempted project.
Sky News first reported the payment.
The level of scrutiny forced the six clubs to back away from the project within days of its announcement but actions by the Premier League and other football authorities demonstrate the continuing fallout.
The UK government has set up an official review to assess governance in football. The review, led by former government minister Tracey Crouch, will assess whether the industry requires an independent regulator. Club ownership is also being considered.
Clubs are typically owned by super wealthy shareholders. Despite the billions of euros of revenue in the sport, it is commonplace for teams to record losses. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the financial crunch in football, with top-tier clubs across Europe facing losses of up to €8.1bn over the two seasons disrupted by the public health crisis.
The punishment comes just weeks after Uefa took action against the English teams, as well as Italy’s AC Milan and Inter Milan and Spanish side Atlético Madrid.
Under the agreement with Uefa, the nine clubs will donate €15m to grassroots and youth football in local areas. The teams also agreed to give up 5 per cent of revenues from European competition for one season, and face fines of €100m if they try to join another breakaway project.
Spain’s FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, and Italy’s Juventus remain in dispute with the governing body. The three clubs have refused to back down over their support for the breakaway competition.