BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand

‘A war on football’ – Ferdinand ‘embarrassed’ by ESL plans

Rio Ferdinand admits he is ’embarrassed’ by plans for a European Super League and insists the concept is ‘a war on football’.

Several of Europe’s elite clubs have officially announced plans for a breakaway competition, with the Premier League’s ‘big six’ having all agreed to form part of an inaugural European Super League that will effectively serve as a closed-shop for the wealthiest sides in world football.

The proposals include plans for a 20-team midweek competition to start “as soon as practicable”, with 15 founding clubs guaranteed entry and joined by just five sides who can qualify annually.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid have joined England’s ‘big six’ in agreeing to join the league, whilst Juventus and both Milan sides have also confirmed their places. Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are amongst the leading clubs in Europe to have not stated their inclusion.

The competition has been blasted by a host of leading authorities including the Premier League, FA and UEFA, the proposals viewed as the latest example of financial greed at the highest level and a threat to the sport’s integrity.

Several figures have spoken out against the plans, with former Manchester United defender Ferdinand admitting he is ’embarrassed’ by the actions of the clubs behind the proposals.

“I’m embarrassed,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “There’s been so many things thrown at the owners in the past, but this situation now.

“To be part of that group, who are going to be a breakaway group and leave everybody for dead – that’s an embarrassment.

“I can’t believe it. I’m a Man Utd fan, I love the club, but I can’t stand by and support something like that at all.”

Ferdinand has branded the plans a disgrace and launched an attack on the owners of the club’s involved, criticising the ‘audacity’ of those clubs to seek further greed and control in the current financial climate, insisting the plans go ‘against everything football is about’.

“This breakaway group of teams, this is, for me, a war on football,” he continued.

“It’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing. It goes against everything that football is about. It’s a closed shop for these bigwigs and its completely and utterly only about one thing and that’s money.

“The rich getting richer and the others not even being considered. There’s no considering for the history, for different parts of the pyramid below the top, top teams.

“It is a disgrace and how they’ve got the audacity to do it in the climate that we are in. The pandemic around the world, people struggling all over the world.

“The element of being anti-competitive – it goes against everything that football is about. Relegation, promotion. Being rewarded for winning, being punished for not winning. These are things that add to the value of our game.

“It shows me that these people have no idea what football is about. It’s a business transaction. That’s it.”

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