The Cumberland FA say the proposal to form a closed European Super League would have been “detrimental to football” as the plan looks on the brink of collapse.
Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have all withdrawn from talks to form a breakaway European Super League.
The ‘Big Six’ dropped the bombshell on Sunday night that they would join six other European clubs in forming a new European league in place of the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition.
What has been said about the European Super League?
The announcement was met by universal condemnation from governing bodies UEFA, FIFA, The Football Association and the Premier League, as well as a backlash from fans across the UK and beyond.
About a thousand Chelsea fans gathered outside their Stamford Bridge ground to protest the proposal prior to their Premier League game with Brighton on Tuesday.
Critics say the move would create a “cartel” amongst the continent’s biggest clubs and drive an even bigger wedge between them and clubs of smaller stature.
Many believe the move is driven by a desire for more power and a greater cash incentive for the clubs involved, with the winners of the European Super League picking up close to 400 million euros, compared to the 120 million euros that are given out to the Champions League winners.
Those in favour say the league would provide a more interesting spectacle for fans worldwide and would help to cement the future of the sport, with promises of more cash for the entire football pyramid.
The clubs involved want to carry on playing in their respective national leagues, but would also play each other in a new midweek competition.
Ben Snowdon, chief executive officer of The Cumberland FA said: “Like many others, we welcomed the news that the English clubs had decided to abandon their plans to join a European Super League.
“I think our reaction to the initial proposal was the same as many other footballing organisations and, judging by comments on social media, the majority of our members, in that it is clear that this would have been detrimental to football at all levels, including at the very root of grassroots football, which is where all football journeys start and often end.
“At a time when a lot of people and establishments are facing up to an uncertain and potentially hugely challenging future, as we hopefully emerge from this pandemic, the initial announcement has done nothing to help the integrity or future prospects of the sport, as the proposal didn’t appear to be in the best interests of the National game or those who love it dearly.
“As the Chief Executive of The Cumberland FA I understand that I must apply some business principles to what we do and how we do it. My philosophy has and continues to be that it is imperative that we remember what our main business is, and that is football.
“As an organisation, Cumberland Football Association has been supporting local football since 1884. If you read the minutes of meetings held from that time, very little has changed. People still talked about referees, facilities and competition between different parts of the county.
“The CFA, like the football pyramid within England, was built around the sporting integrity, some may say a fairytale ‘Roy of the Rovers’ story, that in principle a team can move up through the levels to the ‘join’ the elite, as the standard that your club plays at can be determined by sporting merit rather than just finance alone.
“It is these founding principles that are fundamental to competitive sport and the reason why, like many others reading this, my grandfather, my father, myself and now my own son and daughter have also become smitten with the game.
“As a Sunderland fan, we have a saying that it is the ‘Hope I can’t stand’. This relates to the fact, and recently the reality, that your team can go on a run that allows you to start to dream about promotion but just as that thought comes into your mind, a run of poor results can equally bring you back down to earth with a huge bump.
“So right now, whether you are a fan of a team that is from the Premier League, Football League, National League or below, it feels like it is this hope, our love and our passion for the game that was being openly attacked by this proposal.
“Whilst we are aware we have little power or influence, our position, on behalf of our members and through our FA Representative to The FA council, will be to ensure that The National FA ‘work with all parties’, including crucially the fans and hopefully grassroots clubs, ‘to seek to ensure that nothing is approved’ whether that be now or in the future, ‘ that has the potential to damage English football’ and subsequently the game within Cumberland.”