'Alarming and clandestine' - Brighton issue stinging message to Chelsea and co over European Super League
Brighton & Hove Albion are totally opposed and plan to fight and defeat plans for a breakaway European Super League as it would destroy the dreams of clubs at every level of the domestic game.
Ahead of today’s Premier League meeting involving the 14 clubs who haven’t signed up to be part of a European Super League, Brighton issued the following statement on behalf of Tony Bloom (chairman), Paul Barber (chief executive and deputy chairman), Dan Ashworth (technical director), and Graham Potter (head coach).
"These plans are the latest in an alarming and growing list of clandestine attempts from a small group of clubs whose actions would be wiping out close to 150 years of football’s tradition, competition, and sporting progress through merit," said Brighton who take on Chelsea - one the six Premier League teams who agreed to join the ESL - at Stamford Bridge tonight.
"The ups and downs of football – promotion, relegation, winning titles and cups, challenging for, or missing out, on a European place – are all part and parcel of the drama, jeopardy, joy and heartbreak that makes our game the most watched and most loved in the world.
"These key attributes create significant value from which we feed a financial support structure which helps to sustain football at every level in our country and well beyond. By contrast, a European Super League would concentrate value for the benefit of a small number of clubs.
"The efforts to create a closed-shop for all but the largest clubs demonstrate a clear lack of respect for the contributions of all clubs within the domestic leagues in this country and across Europe.
"Plans for a European Super League also totally disregard fans, the lifeblood of our sport at professional levels, and fly in the face of the views and wishes of the overwhelming majority of football supporters of all clubs.
"These clubs, like Brighton & Hove Albion, invest heavily to support their own dreams, and those of their fans, to play at the highest level they can, and to help create a sense of pride in their own clubs across the country.
"Off the pitch, we remain custodians of our clubs on behalf of past, present and future generations of fans and the communities we all represent. This is a responsibility we believe we must all take very seriously.
"It has been hugely encouraging to see universal opposition and widespread condemnation from across the game from various football authorities, fans, players, commentators, pundits and media, and all-party opposition in government.
"We will continue to work with those groups, including the UK government and MPs of all political parties, football’s governing bodies and all of our colleagues across football to oppose and defeat these plans.
"Ultimately, we are committed to a thriving domestic league and pyramid with the ultimate reward of European competition for achievements and success on the field. We remain open to a transparent, calm and rationale dialogue with all clubs to achieve this."