European Super League: Six English clubs fined £22m by Premier League

The ESL proposals sparked a number of fan protests outside the clubs’ stadiums

The six Premier League clubs involved in the European Super League (ESL) have been fined a combined total of £22m.

A further fine of £25m each and a 30-point deduction will be applied should they attempt a similar project again.

Meanwhile, Uefa has temporarily suspended disciplinary proceedings against Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid who are yet to renounce the ESL.

They are the only three clubs among the original 12 that signed up for the rebel competition that are yet to accept any punishment.

European football’s governing body had opened disciplinary proceedings against them in May.

The Football Association and Premier League are the latest to determine a punishment, though the £22m was described a “a gesture of goodwill” from clubs.

In a joint statement the league and the national governing body confirmed the money “will go towards the good of the game”, which includes “new investment in support for fans” and will help fund grassroots and community projects.

“The six clubs involved in proposals to form a European Super League have today acknowledged once again that their actions were a mistake, and have reconfirmed their commitment to the Premier League and the future of the English game,” the two bodies said in a statement.

“They have wholeheartedly apologised to their fans, fellow clubs, the Premier League and the FA.

“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.”

BBC Sport understands Manchester United’s owners the Glazer family, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group, Arsenal’s majority shareholders Kroenke Sports Enterprises and Tottenham’s owners will pay the fine rather than their clubs.

Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville, who has been a vocal critic of football’s governance and the ESL, tweeted that the punishment was “an absolute embarrassment”.

Nine of the ESL clubs – the six Premier League sides, plus AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid – were fined a similar amount by European governing body Uefa last month.

They agreed to pay 15m euros (£13.4m) between them and have 5% of their Uefa competition revenues held for one season, starting in 2023-24.

In May, Uefa said the other three clubs involved – Real, Barca and Juve – would face “appropriate action” under Uefa’s disciplinary process having failed to distance themselves from the ESL.

BBC Sport was told the clubs were risking being kicked out of the Champions League if the case went against them.

The trio now appear likely to be allowed to play in next season’s Champions League after the disciplinary proceedings lodged against them were brought to a halt.

The three clubs have stated their belief that an order issued by a Madrid court in April that prevented Uefa taking action against them was valid in Switzerland, where the governing body is based.

This has now been passed to the European Court of Justice for a ruling, which has led to the initial case being stopped.

Uefa say they are “confident” in their case and will “continue to defend its position in all the relevant jurisdictions”.

However, the development means the case almost certainly will not reach its conclusion in time for any punishment to take effect in next season’s Uefa tournaments, which for Italian and Spanish clubs begin with the European Conference League play-offs in August.

‘ESL legacy should be restructure of game’

Meanwhile in England, Football Supporters’ Association chair Malcolm Clarke says the action taken by the Premier League should not be the end of the matter if it wants to ensure a similar breakaway proposal will not return in the future.

“Whatever punishment the Premier League’s in-house process decides upon, it cannot guarantee that clubs won’t try similar again in the decades ahead,” he said.

“The European Super League’s legacy should be a total restructure of the game – an independent regulator, genuine power to fans, and wealth redistribution.”

The negative reaction to the ESL has sparked a huge debate about how football is run.

The government has already announced a fan-led review into football governance and the prospect of an independent regulator in English football is set for a parliamentary debate after a petition, launched by a number of ex-footballers, gained more than 100,000 signatures.

What happened with the European Super League?

English football’s ‘big six’ were part of a group that announced plans to form the breakaway league on 18 April.

It was quickly condemned by fans, football authorities and government ministers in the UK, and across Europe by Uefa and league associations. Leading players at some of the six clubs also signalled their disapproval.

Fan protests took place before Liverpool’s game against Leeds at Elland Road on 19 April and Chelsea’s meeting with Brighton at Stamford Bridge the following day.

By that stage there was already speculation Manchester City and Chelsea were considering pulling out of the league, and by the end of the night all six Premier League clubs had announced their intention to withdraw.

La Liga club Atletico Madrid and Italian sides AC Milan and Inter Milan pulled out the following day, prompting Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli to admit the project could no longer proceed.

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