Live by the sword, die by the sword but change brings opportunity for a much better future

The collapse of the incredibly ill-conceived Super League will be viewed as a great victory for all stakeholders in football but unless there are significant changes to football in terms of ownership, governance, income distribution and fan engagement/participation the “victory” will be hollow and meaningless

Paul The Esk 21/04/2021 83comments  |  Jump to last

The collapse of the incredibly ill-conceived Super League will be viewed as a great victory for all stakeholders in football. There will be enormous relief, perhaps jubilation in board rooms, dressing rooms and perhaps most importantly among the fans themselves.

However, unless there are significant changes to football in terms of ownership, governance, income distribution and fan engagement/participation the “victory” will be hollow and meaningless.

Let’s start with the miscreants first. They need to be punished financially and in terms of their competitive status. Why? Firstly their actions in bringing the game into disrepute, the commercial and damage to value their actions have brought warrant punishment. Secondly it has to be a deterrent to them or anyone attempting such actions again.

So what is a worthy punishment?

My own view is that the six should be relegated to the Championship at the end of this season and replaced by the top six of the current Championship. The effect of such punishment would be felt by the clubs themselves, only three of the six could possibly be promoted the following year thus assuring that at least three of the six would be outside the Premier League for more than one year, and also outside of European competition (bar winning the FA Cup or Carabao Cup in 2021/22) for two or three years at a minimum (assuming they qualified for Europe upon return to the Premier League, which might not be the case). An additional European ban might be considered necessary – a blanket ban of five years for example. The six clubs would have to deal with the contractual issues of relegation with their superstar players, similarly with their sponsors and commercial partners. They should be subject to the usual Financial Fair Play rules that apply to Championship clubs. (Perhaps the Glazers can buy Old Trafford to cover losses).

Putting the six clubs into the Championship would have a re-distributive effect for the Championship and indeed the English Football League. It would create much greater visibility, improve the commercial attractiveness for fellow Championship clubs and almost certainly lead to a renegotiation of TV and broadcast rights.

Equally, it would have a redistributive effect on the six promoted clubs assuring that at least three of the six would spend two years or more in the Premier League. Additionally the glass ceiling would be broken for all Premier League clubs bringing fresh competition to the title and qualification for the Champions League and Europa League – itself a redistributive measure.

This is a punishment that fits the crime and benefits football. In my opinion it has much merit.

Changes to the Premier League

Governance. Self regulation in football has clearly failed by almost any metric you care to consider. Regulation of football has to be taken out of the hands of the club owners. They (with some possible exceptions) have not proved worthy of the responsibility, and paid no regard to the custodianship obligations placed upon them. Their lack of care, their dereliction of duty means that regulatory control has to be put into the hands of people independent of the clubs, broadcasters and other commercial entities associated within the game. The regulation would be subject to a framework that necessitated new values in the game, recognising the societal benefits of football and the moral ownership of football by its fans. The clubs, broadcasters and commercial partners would be subject to the authority of the regulator.

The regulator would have fan representation and would have an obligation to regularly consult with fan stakeholder groups up and down the country in terms of reviewing its performance but also guidance in terms of future direction and strategy for the professional game.

The regulator would also have responsibility for wider aspects of the game including the fair distribution of wealth across professional football, community obligations of each club and most critically financial support of grass roots football.

The clubs

Although some clubs have the good fortune to be owned by responsible owners, as the last few days, actually many years have shown, it is not something that is a given. The list of clubs destroyed by their owners actions is long and frightening as fans up and down the country will testify, even before one considers the impact the owners actions of the six have had on their own fans. The true victims are the fans themselves. Yet that is not a reason for the clubs to escape punishment such as suggested above.

I’d propose a new governance structure for each professional football club. The structure would create an advisory board that had veto over certain decisions. The advisory board would be populated by fans and truly independent non-executive directors or trustees (depending upon the status of the board). The club’s shareholders and directors would have day to day control of the club maintaining operational responsibilities, budgets, commercial activities and of course all relating to footballing matters (budgets, manager, player recruitment etc). They would retain their legal responsibilities as per current legislation.

The advisory board would have veto over two key areas. The advisory board would hold a golden share with voting control for the following matters. One is change of control or ownership of the club. There could be no change of ownership or control (in normal circumstances) without the advisory board approval. The advisory board would have the power to appoint professional advisors to assist in their deliberations. Secondly, the advisory board would have the power of veto over the club’s ability to enter new competitions, meaning that the club could only commit to entering new competitions with the approval of the advisory board.

The advisory board would have main board representation.

Such a structure commits the owners, indeed obligates the owners, to a custodian role without negating their ability to provide capital, commercial expertise and grow the club in a responsible manner – all within the regulatory framework of the Premier League and individual clubs.

Opportunity

The attempt to destroy the Premier League as it had become creates the opportunity to put right all that was wrong. The six may have been dissatisfied with both the Premier League and particularly UEFA, but to be honest the dissatisfaction (for different reasons) was carried by almost all in football.

Professional football needs to change. The actions of the six have accelerated the need for change but also provided the opportunity to execute change. They lived by the sword and they must die by the sword in terms of a suitable punishment (as above). They irreparably damaged and their undue influence should never be countenanced again.

However, this is a phoenix-like opportunity for football to correct itself, to re-discover itself, to recognise its value and importance culturally and societally.

It has to start by punishing those that sought to destroy the sporting and competitive integrity of the game. The punishment should be fair and just but also offer a path of redemption over time.

In the meantime the governance of football at League and club level can be improved massively, (i) to protect the game (ii) truly enrich the game and (iii) ensure that the true owners of the game (the fans) can contribute to and regulate where necessary the game we love.

Everton, as the most senior of the remaining Premier League clubs, with its new found confidence and leadership role, plus its excellence in consultation and engagement with fans and the community are ideally placed to drive these changes through the game.

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Reader Comments (83)

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Tony Everan
1 Posted 21/04/2021 at 18:12:08
Hello Paul, thanks for the article.

Relegation to the Championship for all six is a fair and proportionate sanction.

Also the need for a truly independent regulator to oversee fairness and stop anticompetitive actions is immediately needed.

Why do I feel that the ‘Greedy Six’ size 10 Jackboot is still squashing my face?

I fear that nothing meaningful will be done, there will be subservience and almost puppy licking gratitude by some clubs that they have come back into the fold.

It literally and physically makes my stomach turn that it is almost inevitable all they will get is a slap on the wrist and a ‘don’t do it again’.

They need to understand that these greedy six are hungry vultures and they are still circling their prey. ACTION IS NEEDED or they will get what they want in the short to medium term.

It’s a golden opportunity for the sport to create a “Fair Football Charter “ to protect clubs from any future self-serving greed and Cartel like anticompetitive practice. As it stands I’m unconvinced that the current powers have the wherewithal to the kick the ball into the empty net.

Barry Hesketh
2 Posted 21/04/2021 at 18:26:26
I've come to the conclusion that none of the Dirty Dozen will be punished in any significant way. Therefore, if the various FA's and UEFA don't have the stomach for sanctioning the transgressors how about rewarding those clubs who weren't part of the rebel group?

That could be by way of points awarded to the 14 Premier League clubs at the start of the next campaign, or indeed added to their totals at the end of this campaign - 23 points should suffice as that was the number of years the contract the Super League was scheduled for.

If not palatable to mess around with points how about the TV monies allocated to the rebels is shared out amongst the 'good' clubs? Better still allow all the other clubs to have a five-year FFP holiday whilst the 'rebels' are restricted by whatever FFP rules are in place at the time of the decision.

In fact, all three scenarios should be employed as this would be a suitable albeit indirect punishment for the transgressors.

Of course, none of the above will happen and things will be back to normal before the first trophy is won on Sunday, but it was nice to dream for a moment.

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 21/04/2021 at 18:27:02
I would love to see this used as an opportunity to see our game overhauled from top to bottom and see Everton pioneer that.

The commentary on governance inevitably makes me think of the German 50 + 1 model to ensure a club retains the majority of its voting rights to reduce the dominance an external investor can have.

Dale Self
4 Posted 21/04/2021 at 18:29:35
This looks really good Paul. I'm not sure the hard line is to be pursued but I like that someone is saying it. I'll have a deeper look later but on first scan this is good.
Ian Horan
5 Posted 21/04/2021 at 18:46:54
All of the scummy 6 should have a transfer window ban, erm let me see the ESL contract was for 23 years so proportional 23 transfer windows. That would be one very old set of players for each of them...
David Pearl
6 Posted 21/04/2021 at 19:51:46
Relegate them.. haaa In my dreams.

They have said sorry and will not expect or accept any kind of justice. For the 14

And Paul, l must add. Loads of effort into your thoughts and posts always interesring.

Andy Crooks
7 Posted 21/04/2021 at 00:23:53
Interesting as usual, Paul but unlike anything you have done before. There is no possibilty, none, that these clubs will be relegated and I am utterly astonished that you would contemplate it.
If there is any sanction it will be one they are happy with, and which will be of no significance. Like, for example, their temporary removal from a few committees. We can call for draconian measures and outdo each other in our wrath but sadly in vain.
They are utterly unrepentant no matter what spin and lies they offer. They believe they were right and only their timing is wrong. Gary Neville, the most opportunistic and hysterical of the outraged, will, along with the rest of lamentable pundits, soon be back on board.
They will argue that it is unfair to punish the fans, the fans ARE the club they will add; and when push came to shove the fans were listened to. Utter bollocks of course, but soon enough it will be old boring news. The Champions League will be run to suit the Judas six exactly as they intended.
This is the last mini triumph that anyone who cherishes the heritage of football will have. Never again will there be such unity of purpose or a chance to turn the tide.
I believe this is so, because those who have the real power to act decisively, to turn the tide, defend our game, no more respect our heritage than the Judas six.
Slapped wrists and Gin and Tonics all round. Better luck next time.
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 22/04/2021 at 01:02:05
If they were relegated the mood of their fans and players would change sharpish and the ESL would be revived
Ernie Baywood
9 Posted 22/04/2021 at 01:38:01
I think relegation is a bit of a pipe dream.

The Regulation piece is interesting to me. You're right that the clubs have shown that they can't be trusted to regulate themselves. Independent regulation seems an obvious solution.

The only problem is that the clubs would need to vote for it wouldn't they? Across English professional clubs it would be supported, but at PL level I doubt it would get up. We'd need fan revolt and a Government squeeze.

My sense is that things have simply gone too far now. We localised power in the top division, then a top 6 formed that held enough power to veto anything domestically and influence on the continent to maintain their status. We're just waiting for professional football to collapse and re-form.

Unless we can get a couple of the big 6 to break ranks. But that will take a massive coordinated effort...

Lloyd Brodrick
10 Posted 22/04/2021 at 02:19:08
Relegation would also punish Div 1 clubs who will have earned their promotion.
Given that these ‘entitled few’ have resigned from the CL forfeit their participation this year and have them re-apply, then take 18months to process the paperwork effectively leaving them high and dry for two seasons. They did resign after all.
Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 22/04/2021 at 05:18:40
Has it been forgotten that the Premier League requires a 75% majority (15 out of 20 clubs) to pass any such changes and I don't see any of the six volunteering to be the sacrificial lamb. They may accept a token penalty, say 10M each but little more and perhaps the "victors" must show a degree of magnanimity. That said the first thing that needs changing is that any changes need only be by a simple majority thus removing clubs ability to form a new competition while maintaining a place in the Premier League. If nothing else it will show if there is any true contrition.

Then, if they don't do it already, hold a complete audit of these clubs finances to be widely published to show what debt these 6 clubs would have if they were to be wound up tomorrow. Then a submission to UEFA to drop any rating system of clubs in order to give any priority/seeding in competitions.

Alan J Thompson
12 Posted 22/04/2021 at 05:30:30
Further to my #11; If UEFA must have some sort of seeding then it applies only to the holders (last years competition winner) and each country's nominated Champions for that season's competition, everyone else thrown into the hat for the Group stages.
Mal van Schaick
13 Posted 22/04/2021 at 07:48:50
We are frustrated that the usual top six or top seven make up the top four for the champions league and remaining Europa league spots, with a blimp now and again, where unsuspecting clubs gate crash the party, that is part of the whole competition, whether it be league, cup or European games.

May be the best way to punish the breakaways clubs, is to put a transfer embargo on them and restrict their financial clout for two years. That may lead to a more level playing field and allow, others to compete with the so called ‘big six’.

In the fifties, sixties and seventies, the leagues were more volatile and subject to constant changing competition, and players more settled in their locality, but in the modern game the attraction of playing in the Champions league definitely has a bearing on where a quality available player wants to ply his trade.

The Premier league will have to consider innovative ways of producing a different brand and it appears that can only be achieved by financial regulation or by a type of handicapping system in order to give other less powerful clubs a chance.

Chris Williams
14 Posted 22/04/2021 at 08:23:23
Alan,

I’ve just rechecked the EPL rules. Each club has one vote each, so in any situation, 14 clubs need to vote for a change in the rules, or in a change in commercial arrangements.

Under existing rules, members can be fined, or lose points, for breaking the rules, and in extreme circumstances can be expelled. Any of this would require the involvement of an independent 3 man tribunal, seemingly.

So if I’m reading it properly, under the existing rules, quite severe penalties would be open if the 14 teams vote unanimously for it, if these 6 clubs are deemed to have broken the rules.

Expect the lawyers to get involved in the interpretation of the nature of the ESL ‘agreement’

Alan McMillan
15 Posted 22/04/2021 at 09:55:49
According to "Pep", this sorry episode is now closed:

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56741406

How convenient it would be if we all just forget this ever happened... But it did happen.

No Pep, hopefully this is only the start of a well-earned chastening of those involved and a level playing field for all.

I won't hold my breath..

Jim Wilson
16 Posted 22/04/2021 at 10:32:33
This definitely has not gone away,

The Premier League must demand that the greedy 6 with all other clubs sign some sort of loyalty agreement now or they are thrown out the Premier League.

They must be punished too. We must not be soft.

The greedy 6 were plotting for at least 3 years and will be still plotting while getting the benefits of being in the Premier League.

They are treacherous and an utter disgrace.

Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 22/04/2021 at 10:52:05
Chris(#14); Does that mean that a 70% majority is needed as I am/was under the impression it was not a simple majority and that it was 6 clubs involved as this then meant they couldn't be voted out of the Premier League if they all stood their ground? I'm a bit lost on the 3 man tribunal which I assume is to investigate and report the circumstances, and make recommendations?

I rather suspect rule changes and monetary fines rather than any points/relegation penalties in the hope it may quickly blow over and back to business as usual but with precautions. It may not seem fair but may be acceptable to all clubs.

Chris Williams
18 Posted 22/04/2021 at 11:28:09
Alan,

I think it’s a 2/3 majority needed which basically means 14 teams in a 20 team league. I think they tried to reduce the size of the league as part of their last attempt as well. So they have the numbers to vote for sanctions like fines and points deductions if unanimous.

Yes, the tribunal applies to expulsions as far as I can see, and it must be independent. So that rules me out! It may be they use a tribunal in any case because of the legal implications

I’m not sure what powers the FA still have, but they are effectively the games regulator so they might have a part to play.

Ian Burns
19 Posted 22/04/2021 at 11:51:30
Paul - as always an excellent thought provoking and informative article. However, I am surprised that you think for one moment relegation of the 6 would get off the starting blocks. Andy (7) has got it right and therefore no need for me to re-write the same post (wouldn't have been good enough anyway Andy!).

Obviously there has to be some retribution but I feel Sky's viewing needs will be part of the ongoing consideration, which is why they have started their own underlying campaign to rule out any such thoughts of relegating the top 6.

Once this has all settled down, the best we can hope for is a new governance that will attempt to re-set the Premier League into some form of equal playing field, although it will be more equal for some than others, I suspect!

The new Champions League format is too complicated, so we could do with starting a re-think on that competition for starters.

Brian Temple
20 Posted 22/04/2021 at 12:17:47
It wasn't that long ago that Juve had their title stripped and were demoted from Serie A. In that instance it was trying to influence the officials who reffed their matches. So there is precedent for such a demotion.

Also West Ham had points deducted for breaches of player registration which nearly demoted them so the PL also has it's own precedent for applying this type of punishment.

Another added benefit is that if Arsenal are demoted Everton become the longest continued top flight team.

Alun Jones
21 Posted 22/04/2021 at 12:41:48
I would guess, if all 6 were relegated, they would look to resurrect the ESL as it would be shit or bust. I think you might also alienate their supporters and break the united front. It's like the Treaty of Versailles.
Ray Robinson
22 Posted 22/04/2021 at 12:46:30
If the Greedy 6 were to be relegated (not going to happen), I bet they'd take their parachute payments on the way!

Seriously, a battle may have been won but the war to create a meritocracy has only just begun. UEFA's own proposed Champions League format includes discretionary places for teams with good "coefficients" (however that is intrepreted), which means that the likes of the RS and Utd will never have to qualify again.

How can anyone be totally happy with the current backdown if such a back door system exists? It's like saying Brazil and Germany can play in every future World Cup without the need to play any qualification matches.

Let's show our disapproval of the "VIP pass" with as much passion as we did in the case of the proposed Super League. Otherwise, we have gained nothing.

Eric Myles
23 Posted 22/04/2021 at 13:21:33
The Premier League won't relegate these clubs, Paul, they would lose too much money in advertising revenue and broadcasting rights in an already Covid-hit industry. The pigs are not going to vote for reducing the amount of slop in the trough.

Similarly, the Champions League won't expel them as they generate too much money for the corrupt Uefa leeches.

The best we may hope for is that there would be a 10-point deduction for those involved, thus minimising the impact to the Premier League and Uefa coffers to only 1 year.

Brian Harrison
24 Posted 22/04/2021 at 13:27:25
Paul as always your posts are very readable and I agree with your sentiments as to what should happen to the 6 English clubs involved.

But I think we also need to address the real reason these clubs wanted to join the money cartel: it's because most of the so-called richest clubs are in massive debt. The reason they are in debt is because they have created their own demise by paying agents and players money they couldn't afford to pay.

Most of these clubs enjoy raking in Champions League money but it's still not enough to balance the books. Barcelona are a billion pounds in debt... how have their regulatory authorities both in Spain and under Uefa FFP allowed them to do this? The wage bills of both Barca and Real are just not sustainable.

Yes, Messi is probably the best player in the world but who can afford to pay him £680,000 per week and his team mates are also on extortionate wages. Real are still paying most of Bales £600,000 per week, plus the other top earners there are on again unsustainable money that no club in the world can afford.

So, instead of looking at ways of joining elitist teams to forge a cartel to make more money, which will no doubt not reduce the debt; this allow them to spend even more on players. Surely if there was a time for a maximum wage in football, it is now, never mind what Barca and Real spend — 85% of Everton's profit goes directly into players' bank accounts.

Craig Walker
25 Posted 22/04/2021 at 16:52:13
Super article, Paul.

I would love to see that kind of punishment meted out but the chances of relegation or European bans being imposed are zero, I would say.

I would welcome Everton getting more fan representation at boardroom level and to use this to get our own house in order. I'm sceptical that Moshiri, although seemingly of a higher moral standard than some of his peers, is still as businessman who will want massive control of the club.

Already, the events of the past few days seem like this had all been a dream. The narrative has been changed: Jordan Henderson spoke up and that John Henry deserves credit for apologising. The 6 clubs want to return to normal as though nothing happened – like unfaithful husbands returning to their wives and families and asking for forgiveness.

This morning, Sky Sports News were continuing their agenda that they invented football in 1992 – Man City and Spurs both won last night and that was where their focus should be this morning. I sat there listening to whether Phil Foden is Man City's player of the year. Was Mourinho's sacking where their focus should have been directed towards on Monday?

Like all fellow Toffees, we haven't had much to shout about on the pitch but we should be rightly proud of how our club reacted to this coup attempt, how it treated its staff during the pandemic and the brilliant work it does for the local community. I've read countless contributions from Evertonians which are well-balanced, brilliantly argued and completely fair. I think Everton are one of the winners from this debacle.

To hear of pundits and ex-players saying that punishment affects the players and the fans is infuriating to us long-suffering Evertonians who were deprived of seeing arguably our greatest ever team compete amongst the European elite for 5 years. Our club did nothing wrong then, and in truth, Everton have never looked like reaching the summit of English football in the decades since. That European ban affected a whole host of clubs including Oxford United, Wimbledon, Coventry City, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday. As others have said, there are numerous cases where points deductions were enforced against clubs and it unfairly affected the blameless fans and players – my home town club of Wigan Athletic spring to mind. I didn't hear much outcry when Bury were forced out of business. Fairness in punishments has never been directed towards the fans so why should that change because this time it affects the media darlings?

I've had people say to me "Yes, but Everton were in the Big 5 that started the Premier League." Well, that is true but we never advocated an additional midweek league lasting 23 years from which we could never be relegated, effectively pulling up the ladder, using an obscene amount of riches to ensure that no other clubs could ever compete in English football again. Everton were the second most decorated club in the land at the time and most affected by the harshest of punishments.

If there is no action taken against these 6 clubs, then I hope, at the very least, that Sky Sports, BT and all of the print media ban the use of the term "the Big 6". With their ex-players all over the media, I think even this is asking for too much.

My prediction is that next season will start. These 6 will still be in the Premier League, and not much will have changed. Hope I'm wrong.

Mark Murphy
26 Posted 22/04/2021 at 20:32:58
For a bit of fun can anyone tell me the link with this article and Line of Duty?
A virtual pint is on the bar for the first who gets it.
Barry Hesketh
27 Posted 22/04/2021 at 20:56:46
Mark #26
'Bent Copper' by chance?
Andy Crooks
28 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:03:32
Simple, Mark. If I read post # 7 out loud you would swear it was Ted Hastings.
Rob Halligan
29 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:13:02
There's no such thing as a "Big Six". As the club statement read, it's a "Self Proclaimed" big six. Nobody has "elected" these teams into this elite group, they have simply latched onto the phrase conjured up by Sky and the BBC, who nominated them. Spurs have done absolutely nothing to warrant being called one of the "self-proclaimed" big six, they have done absolutely nothing to warrant being invited into the ESL, so if anything, it should a "self-proclaimed big five"!!!

Of course, when we were one of "The Big Five", that was understandable!!

Anthony Murphy
30 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:39:53
I’m trying hard to think of a reason why one of the 14 other PL teams would not vote for either a points deduction or transfer embargo. These are the two most damaging punishments if you remove some sort of expulsion as that would never happen. Why wouldn’t they vote for such a fitting punishment? The removal of the odd executive from committees doesn’t cut it for me.
Ian Bennett
31 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:54:52
Anthony #30 - back handers mate. A top 6 team could act favourably on a bit of help from a friendly club.

Barry Hesketh
32 Posted 22/04/2021 at 22:01:32
There are a variety of reasons why a club might refrain from calling for severe punishment of the transgressors; they might have a good relationship with one or more of the offenders, they might be owed a lot of money in transfer fees for players sold to one or more of the offenders, they might be ambitious to be part of the circus themselves, they might have dodgy stuff that they'd rather not become public and wouldn't want the punishment to be too severe should it become public.

There should be a full investigation into who knew about this whole sorry affair but that would probably take ten years by which time the ESL may be up and running anyway.

Andy Finigan
33 Posted 22/04/2021 at 22:23:08
Paul, I love your thinking and you are a clever man... but no chance of it happening.

Ray @22, I agree totally how wrong this latest Uefa cartel is but surely so do every club in Europe outside the top clubs, with a genuine hope of gatecrashing the party. Why don't our great club get signatures from the owners to say they won't stand for it. Surely this is a great time for us to stand up to the bullying Uefa corruption.

Jay Harris
34 Posted 22/04/2021 at 22:54:13
Guys, I believe for any severe action to be taken it requires 75% ie, 15 of the 20, to unanimously vote for it.

As most have said, an apology and a fine (If we are lucky) with Uefa sneaking the new restricted Champions League club rules in via the back door.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
35 Posted 22/04/2021 at 23:59:14
Let's do a deal. Roman, you were never happy. Tell you what, you vote with the other 14 of us so we get 75% majority and we will go easy on you because of good behaviour. That way you get a clear run for a couple of years.

If they can play dirty, can't the rest of us? The squeals from the other 5 will be wonderful!

But yes, much as I would love it, just love it, for the 6 to be severely punished, I do not see it happening. Too much influence. What is frustrating is now is perhaps the time to strike back. There is so much anger and resentment that their threat of "Give us this or we will set up a ESL" to Uefa is at the moment a paper tiger. It is a non-threat.

Therefore now is the time for Uefa to knock them down because they are on the floor and can't fight back. Now is the time to get rid of the cartel. To show the stranglehold of these clubs, since 1992 there have been 86 titles in Spain, Italy and England and only 7 times was it not one of these clubs. Competition and uncertainty is just so much more fun.

Derek Thomas
36 Posted 23/04/2021 at 00:56:05
You don't punish them, they'll do it again in another form. You punish them and they do it anyway as a "Fuck you" gesture.

A plague on all their houses.

Mike Doyle
37 Posted 23/04/2021 at 08:11:40
It would be great if the Esk’s suggestions came to fruition. Sadly, and like the other posters, while we can hope I think it unlikely.
Aside from the fact that UEFA/FIFA are likely to do nothing, the cynic in me believes that the key driver for the Premier League ( and the “Legacy 14” ) will be to preserve the value of their most important source of income - the Sky TV deal.
For this reason none of the 6 will face relegation. Affordable fines and modest points reductions seem the most likely outcome. Hope I’m wrong but fear I’ll be right. Perhaps it is time for a Government regulator to get involved.
Paul Davies
38 Posted 23/04/2021 at 08:33:29
Mike 37 As you say the premier league won’t want to upset Sky so if any points deduction were to occur it would probably be for a suspended period.
Rob Halligan
39 Posted 23/04/2021 at 08:38:48
I’ve an idea to punish the septic six. As far as I know, no other club in the premier league, or championship, is in the process of building a new stadium. The biggest losers out of all this would probably have been us, because the new stadium would likely have been scuppered because money from TV broadcasting would have reduced dramatically.

Had this super league gone ahead, each club would have received £350M just for the privilege of joining. So the answer is simple, each club give Everton £100M, that’s £600M to build our new stadium.

Unfair on the other thirteen clubs, maybe, but don’t forget, their share of the pot of gold at the end of the premier league rainbow would have been affected dramatically had the super league gone ahead. Each club could have lost anything between £200M - £300M over the next few years because of reduced tv money. I’m only guessing at these figures, because even the bottom club gets around £100M, so let’s say the TV money could easily have been cut by 50%. So over the next 4 - 6 years that amounts to £200 - £300M.

So £100M fine for the septic six, payable to Everton Football Club. Jobs a goodun, septic six are punished and the rest of the premier league clubs are not out of pocket. Sounds good to me anyway!

Nicholas Ryan
40 Posted 23/04/2021 at 09:56:07
Paul, I think your basic point is a good one; i.e. that this sorry tale has shone a light on dark places in football that need cleaning up.

I have a problem with the idea of relegation of the Psychotic 6, in that; it seems to me, that would provoke them to join a completely separate, permanent League of 12, which I suspect, is their ultimate objective. How about applying an immediate deduction of 5 points? Enough to have them scrabbling around for European qualification, but not enough to make them want to break away.

As for the Rob Halligan 'pay for our stadium' idea; I think it's a good one, but I would suggest that the Horrid Half-Dozen be made to provide Everton with an interest-free loan of £600m repayable over 25 years, the likely period we would have borrowed over, anyway.

As to the bosses of these clubs; in a different age, men of honour would have picked up a pistol, walked into the forest and done the decent thing!!

Paul Burns
41 Posted 23/04/2021 at 10:01:37
Everything you needed to know about the poisonous state of football has been starkly evident in the last few days.

Were the media concerned about the remnants of clubs and fans left in the ruins of the Premier League? No, all the focus was on the poor dears who support the not-big six and the effects of leaving on them. (Has anyone ever got a new seasons fixture list by the way and looked up when we play Man City, Spurs or Chelsea? Thought not.)

Football has become nothing more than a tool to be used and abused by television and gambling concerns. Parasites like 'giants of football', Kris Kamara and Robbie Savage, talking shite while earning millions, studios rammed with pundits from the usual suspects, fixtures at every minute of the night and day so that every redshite fan from Cockermouth to Staines can get behind "the shirt".

For me, football needs to go back to basics, get rid of TV contracts, and play all games at 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

I don't care about tv money or foreign players, I enjoyed football more when you had to go the match to see it, when the grounds weren't full of trendy nobheads but people who played and knew the game.

The blanket coverage nowdays bores the arse off me. Unless the game goes back to basics, and it won't because the greed is too powerful, then the charade of normality will continue until the next attempt to break away comes from the self-appointed big clubs.

Eric Myles
42 Posted 23/04/2021 at 11:07:44
Rob #29, I remember when the phrase was "Top Four" until our neighbours finished outside of the four, so it became the Big Five.

How Spurs are considered "Big Six" is beyond me, have they won anything since 1963?

It can only be based on money, so now Greedy Six is more appropriate.

Nigel Gregson
43 Posted 23/04/2021 at 15:03:41
Its a terrible idea. As others have pointed out - once relegated, these marquee clubs will make the ESL a reality as there's no money in playing in the Championship. Plus it would also disproportionally alienate and disenfranchise the fanbase of those 6 clubs whose mood will sway from anti ESL to pro ESL.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
44 Posted 23/04/2021 at 15:05:01
Eric#42, sadly they have won things since '63. That was the Cup Winners Cup.

Since then Uefa Cup twice, FA Cup and League Cup 4 times, but most importantly League Titles... Zero. And that includes 1977-78 when they only finished 3rd in the Second Division, to be promoted back on Goal Difference!

Finish the well know phrase by Jim Royle - Big 6? Big 6 my arse!

Mike Doyle
45 Posted 23/04/2021 at 15:56:11
Rob 39,

It's a nice idea – and one I trust you'll be recommending Denis Barrett-Baxendale puts on the agenda for the next meeting of the Legacy 14. I still think the most likely outcome is modest fines and modest points deductions.

If I were a gambling man, I'd guess that the Premier League will wait until the end of the season to see where teams finish. They will then impose points penalties cunningly calculated to cause minimal damage. Assuming Man City and Man Utd finish 1st and 2nd, the points deductions will be such that they'll still have enough to qualify for next season's Champions League – so Uefa will be kept onside.

The other 4 may have to suffer the consequences of dropping a few places, but 2 of them would miss out on the Champions League in any event.

In this way:

1) The Premier League can claim to have “taken tough action”;

2) Sky will be kept onside, as all 6 remain in the Premier League next season;

3) The Legacy 14 will be happy – they know they need the Super 6 in the Premier League to retain the value of the Sky deal;

4) Uefa will be happy – though they seem happy enough that the ESL concept has died away;

5) And of course, Mr FLorez, FSG, the Glazers & Co can resume their clandestine meetings to plan resurrecting the idea – in a different guise – sometime in the next 2 years;

6) Most supporters of most clubs won't be happy – so no change there!

Ray Robinson
46 Posted 23/04/2021 at 16:25:54
Mike, I think that's a likely outcome but on Point 5, there'll be no need as UEFA will probably add to the discretionary places in the re-formatted Champions League at some point and the Super League will have been created by stealth anyway, without the need for extra fixtures.
Mike Doyle
47 Posted 23/04/2021 at 16:58:56
Ray I’m sure you are correct. As I understand that that is scheduled to come in to the Champions League in 2024 I think.
Will Mabon
48 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:22:48
With no firm or immediate threat of punishment/sanctions, the greasy gears of the PR spin machine are starting to turn again. Notice in the last 24 hours or so across various media, the ESL is increasingly being referred to as "on standby".
Rob Halligan
49 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:26:29
Mike # 45. I'm not sure who Nigel # 43 is referring too when he says it's a terrible idea, but if I referred my idea to Denise Barrett-Baxendale, I have a feeling she might come back with the same answer.

We all know the Septic Six are going to escape any meaningful punishment, so my idea would never be considered in a million years!

Chris Williams
50 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:30:27
By the sound of it, Sky breaking some news about clean 14 clubs demanding removal an all CEOs and Chairmen of Pig Six. Won't work with them.

Apparently Masters of PL warned them not to go ahead but they ignored him. Told them the rules didn't allow it, but they ignored him. Told them the wider football community wouldn't accept it, but they ignored him.

'Ignore' is the root of ignorance, I'm guessing.

Rob Halligan
51 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:30:31
The 14 clubs not involved in the Super League want all owners and chairmen removed from the Septic Six clubs. Is that from the clubs themselves, I assume it is?
Rob Halligan
52 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:32:07
Guess Chris is more up to date than I am. I've just seen the yellow band across the bottom of the Sky Sports News channel.
Colin Glassar
53 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:32:36
Where you seeing that, Rob?

Just seen it on Sky Sports News.

Rob Halligan
54 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:34:43
For fuck's sake, my edit button won't work. I meant the removal of Chairmen and CEOs. It's on Sky Sports, Colin.
Colin Glassar
55 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:36:23
Just seen it Rob. This will make the sods uncomfortable.
Thomas Richards
56 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:37:37
Won't happen in general.

Maybe the odd sacrificial lamb.

Rob Halligan
57 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:40:55
What exactly is the benefit of removing chairmen and CEOs though? Would these Septic Six lose all voting rights etc, on Premier League decisions?
Chris Williams
58 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:41:16
Some of the quotes seem pretty unequivocal, Thomas.

"More faces than the town hall clock" is one the milder ones.

Thomas Richards
59 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:42:29
Dogs, Chris.

It should happen but it won't, mate.

Colin Glassar
60 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:42:49
I've heard there's talk of a 3-year ban/exclusion from all decision-making committees, Rob.
Chris Williams
61 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:44:32
It seems a matter of trust, Rob. Lies and deception as well as perceived arrogance.

I'm guessing they reckon the force is with them.

Tony Everan
62 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:44:58
Rob, I was thinking the same, wouldn’t they just replace them with similar? I don’t get how that helps.
Chris Williams
63 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:46:06
Let life unfold, Thomas.
Thomas Richards
64 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:47:29
The 14 showing how weak and timid they really are. They will never be in as strong a position again. They should go for the jugular.
Thomas Richards
65 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:48:33
Come back to me when it unfolds Chris
Colin Glassar
66 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:52:39
Thomas, I agree but I think things might be happening without us knowing.
Rob Halligan
67 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:53:16
If this is to be the sole punishment for these Septic Six clubs, then it's shite. A points deduction for this season of say 20 points, and then 30 points from the start of next season, and a European ban of at least 5 years is the minimum they should receive.
Thomas Richards
68 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:54:20
Scene at Emirates, Old Trafford, Anfield etc:

"Okay, Joe Bloggs, you have been a very naughty Chairman. You're sacked. Jack Bloggs will take your seat with immediate effect."

Chris Williams
69 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:54:43
Apparently the PL is still investigating the full facts and timeline, so that has yet to play into any of this.

Once complete and agreed by the 14, and I suppose the lawyers, then the penalties will be announced, seemingly. If any.

This is a separate action.

Rob Halligan
70 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:55:46
Thomas, do you know the Bloggs brothers? 😁😁
Rob Halligan
71 Posted 23/04/2021 at 17:58:14
Protests at Arsenal. Good job we weren't playing the shite tonight, otherwise our team bus might have been bricked.
Mark Murphy
72 Posted 23/04/2021 at 19:03:53
Barry 27 and Andy 28
No
You'll wet yourself when you see the answer
Andy Crooks
73 Posted 23/04/2021 at 19:36:02
Thomas @64, quite right. It is now or never. This is the time to find a backbone between them. Appeasement failed as it usually does.

Mark, give us a clue.

Mark Murphy
74 Posted 23/04/2021 at 20:13:42
What??? A bigger clue than that??
I reckon even Rita, Sue and Bob too would get it!
Jamie Abbott
75 Posted 23/04/2021 at 21:42:55
I think that we should give these owners what they actually want, money.
The so called top teams in europe want to be able to sell their tv rights around the world. Let them. Let them organise their own european or world competition on a format that suits them. Let them still be humbled on a Saturday afternoon at a bouncing Goodison Park or Portman Road or wherever. The tv money should be distributed as it is now, then keep what you make above that. Have a spending cap on players and wages, so the money that they make, has to be taken out of the club by the owners. (What they want) Have a competition as long as it is actually a competitive spectical. This means that anyone can qualify, but this is to be based on current merit and not past quarter-final appearances. Have the balls to play in the FA cup and PL with the fervant expectation that all fans deserve and expect. This may not be perfect, but the fact is, football would now not be where it is without rich owners(including our own). We need then to continue unless we start again at £4 a week! Again, what a statement by a class club and captain, but fair play to all the players who spoke out. Up the blues.
Alan J Thompson
76 Posted 25/04/2021 at 07:49:57
How soon they forget!

There are calls for an Advisory Board with at least an element, if not entirely, made up from Fans. We already have at our head, I'm told, the Greatest Evertonian Ever and look where that got us.
No, not the British Virgin Islands!

Brent Stephens
77 Posted 26/04/2021 at 12:48:23
Mark #74 - is the link Andrea Dunbar??
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

78 Posted 28/04/2021 at 14:58:36
It appears the white heat and outrage that justifiably followed after the ‘Dirty Dozen’ declared their intentions to set up the ESL has dissipated a tad. That doesn’t mean it has been swept under the carpet or that no sanctions will be imposed.

Of your two articles you wrote in the wake of the news and its rapid collapse Paul, I couldn’t agree with the doom-laden content of the first portraying it as disastrous for Everton, whilst this second article, athough sound in its rationale and appealing to many, is extremely unlikely to be implemented.

Personally, I’m encouraged that both the PL (in the case of the soiled six) and UEFA are taking their time in preparing the case that all the involved clubs have to answer for.
I was never as despondent as you appeared in your first post on the subject and the possible financial exposure to greatly reduced monies from media deals.

Why? Because here in England at least there is a HUGE appetite for live match attendance. And not just in the PL. For a number of seasons now the Championship has had the third highest aggregate crowds against all other major European leagues. That number is only bettered by the PL itself and the Bundesliga, surpassing the likes of Spain, Italy and France.

When unrestricted numbers of spectators can return to the stadiums they will be hotbeds of raucous, unbridled passion. We’ve seen it in the pockets of protest from even the supporters of the soiled six. All that adds to the TV spectacle. And to the uptake of TV subscriptions.

I think in predicting the doomsday scenario of much-reduced revenues from TV broadcast rights Paul you overlooked a vital component in the arrangement: just how essential – key, in fact – live sport is to the broadcasters’ business model.

Who remembers the early days of satellite TV? It was CRAP! Filling airtime with awful re-runs of 1960s American sit-coms like The Flying Freaking Nun! Sky had their backs against the wall and were close to going under.

Then they found the magic ingredient. Live sport to which you had to pay a subscription to access. Their advertising revenues soared to help fund and perpetuate their dominance in the field.

All such broadcasters worldwide follow the same template and have multiple channels as a result. Those channels constantly need fresh content to fill the airtime. On a global scale, nothing has greater appeal to the TV than football. And English PL football in particular.

I mention this because in the last 24 hours you have the following story doing the rounds:

No Fall Off in New TV Broadcasting Rights

As you can read, Sky simply cannot afford to lose the near monopoly they hold on PL broadcasting rights in the UK and – even with the turmoil of the last two weeks yet to fully play out – they are already willing to pay the same inflated monies of recent seasons to retain the contract for the next 3 years.

Personally, I never feared that the leaving of the soiled six could impact as negatively on Everton and others as you originally wrote Paul. English football at both the PL and Championship level is a great ‘product’. The possible absence of the soiled six could actually have been a great opportunity to enhance it further.

Finally, as this has played out so far, I also think Everton could be very well positioned to take advantage of events. Consider the following:

* From the start of the pandemic the club moved quickly to reassure all its staff that they would be retained on full salary, which contrasted starkly to the likes of three of the soiled six – them, Arsenal and Spurs – who couldn’t move quickly enough to dismiss and furlough staff, claiming the UK government furlough handout in doing so
* DB-B took the lead and eloquently opposing the soiled six’s ‘Big Project Reset’ for the PL and the English Game in October
* Last week she delivered the club's scything comments in response to the ESL
* Moshiri, speaking on TalkSport, was equally condemning of the soiled six, saying Everton would ‘never’ join such a league
* Our continued outstanding work in the community through EiTC.

If you are looking for a club with ethics and a social conscience – and it does matter to many – you would be hard pressed to find a club that surpasses Everton.

I would also suggest, given how quickly the soiled six withdrew their support for the ESL, they also know they need the PL just as much – maybe even more so – than the other 14 clubs.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

79 Posted 28/04/2021 at 15:09:16
And a 'by-the-way'.

Another very, VERY good reason we and Everton in particular should not fear seeing the soiled six sail away over the horizon is the following.

Some statto has done some serious number crunching of how every PL season would have played out without the presence of the soiled six.

Who would take seeing Everton crowned as PL champions in EIGHT of the last 15 seasons as a result? That's my hand up!

Everton Dominate PL

All harmless fun.

Andrew Ellams
80 Posted 28/04/2021 at 15:26:10
There is talk in Italy of expulsion from the league for anybody who attempts to go down this road again. Is hat the best anybody can do, or should there be immediate repercussions now?

I suspect very little will happen now the 'not fair to punish the fans and players' card has been well and truly played by all parties including the media.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

81 Posted 28/04/2021 at 16:26:38
You mean this story Andrew?

Serie A to Ban Breakaway Clubs

This is no small thing. It's very categoric and they have a deadline - June 21. Any Italian club signing up to a competition before then not sanctioned by UEFA or FIFA will simply be banned from Serie A and all Italian domestic competitions.

That's much further than any other federation has declared to date. Nor is that to say 'that's it', that there will be no further sanctions against the rebel clubs.

Plenty of time and scope for that yet.

Danny O’Neill
82 Posted 28/04/2021 at 16:42:52
Ooof. Remember UK Gold Jay and those awful re-runs of Eastenders? Terrible.

There is nothing to fear without them and they, along with the global audience would soon tire of the mundane nature of the closed club. That's why they bottled it quickly; they know they need the Premier / national leagues too. They want both, not a breakaway.

Interesting stance from the Italians, but then, albeit for very different reasons, they have proven willingness to act against big names in the past. Whereas we make scapegoats of Wigan and kick Leeds when already down, they took Juventus to the cleaners a few years back.

I wonder if our football authorities have the balls.

Thomas Richards
83 Posted 28/04/2021 at 16:51:20
The Two Ronnies are on another thread if anyone is interested.

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