David Bernstein, the former chief executive of the Football Association and Manchester City, has given a scathing assessment of his former club’s involvement in the Super League’s plans that have turned football on its head.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Bernstein said he was ashamed of being a City supporter and compared his own feelings to those of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher about how they responded to their teams, Manchester United and Liverpool, who endorsed the plans. .
City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, together with three Italian teams and three Spanish teams, are the founders of the leading group.
Bernstein also said that big clubs, especially those with United and Liverpool histories, have a responsibility to behave appropriately for the good of the sport.
David Bernstein has shot his club Manchester City into the air for their involvement in the Super League
City has been confirmed as one of the 12 founding clubs of the hugely controversial plan
‘I am ashamed. I have supported Manchester City all my life. It’s a club I love. But I’m really ashamed because I know Gary Neville has said he’s about his old club Manchester United, and I think Jamie Carragher and Liverpool, ‘said Bernstein.
“I am ashamed because clubs with that history should bear a great responsibility for the rest of the game.”
Bernstein said the main form of hope against the proposals is that without promotion and relegation, the backbone of the thrills and spills of competitive football will be removed and in turn wipe out most of the interest in matches.
“It’s a lifeline that I think will only end, if it does, very much,” he said.
Because a closed competition, as they propose, without promotion and relegation, without recognition from the rest of the game, is potentially a dead competition. It will not have the life of football as we understand it. I think the arrogance of these six English clubs is something to behold.
“I think there are two things at play here: one is greed and the other is despair.
And that’s because some of these clubs have been in huge debt. I certainly believe that Barcelona and Real Madrid, and I think at least one of the English clubs, has nearly £ 1 billion in debt.
Bernstein said he thinks if the Super League does come, it will ‘end very badly’
Former City player Micah Richards said the Super Plans are “an absolute shame.”
‘I think they are in a desperate situation. One of the things they didn’t do during the pandemic is impose some sort of wage control. They have found themselves in a difficult situation. ‘
Micah Richards, a former City player and now a Sportsmail columnist and Sky Sports pundit, told Sky on Sunday: ‘The Premier League has been amazingly run, we all know clubs are an investment, it’s a business in the end, but what happens there with the fans?
What happens to the memories of what the fans have had over the years? They just forgot about money, and that’s how football has become. I think it’s an absolute shame. ‘
The UEFA Champions League is under serious threat from a leading group of the best teams
Meanwhile, DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: ‘This is a dark day for football – a deal being struck behind closed doors, apparently without regard for supporters.
Although this idea was floated a few months ago, it is shocking the speed with which this leading group was announced.
What is needed is a fan-led review of football with real teeth and here we have more evidence to bolster the arguments for it.
Football needs a reset, but this is not the way to do it. Community club interests should be at the heart of future plans.
“We, the committee, will discuss this when we meet in a private session tomorrow.”
Manchester City was the last of the six English teams to declare their intention for the breakaway
And former sports minister, Conservative MP Helen Grant added: ‘The European Super League is a threat to football as we know it.
It would concentrate power and wealth among a few clubs, erode more than a hundred years of history, tradition and competition, and weaken the crucial relationship between clubs and their fans.
Loyal supporters across the country, who are the heartbeat of our national sport, would suffer.
The publication of these proposals only reinforces the need for an Independent Football Regulator in England. A regulator is urgently needed to stand up for the interests of the wider game of football in our country and to make football governance fairer and more sustainable. ‘