Controversial plans for a European football “super league” have been slammed by politicians in Scotland who want to give fans control of clubs.
Twelve of Europe’s biggest footballing powers announced they wanted to join forces and form a closed-shop competition.
It would potentially propel the richest teams, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and AC Milan, out of domestic competition.
Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray, a former Hearts board member, said his party’s manifesto launch on Thursday will contain promises to supporters.
“Football belongs to the fans – not to a cartel of billionaires at the top,” he said.
“Scottish Labour is determined to reinvigorate the game in Scotland from grassroots to national team by supporting fan ownership of clubs and reform of the game at all levels in Scotland.
“Clubs are at the heart of communities across Scotland, and many have been hit hard by the pandemic. That’s why Labour is committed to democratising and energising the game in Scotland.”
Profit and greed
Alison Johnstone, the Scottish Greens’ spokeswoman on sports, said: “The sums of money involved in the European Super League are absolutely eye-watering.
“Its formation shows what happens when profits and greed are allowed to dominate football. As the famous quote says, football is nothing without the fans, and it is no wonder that so many are opposed to this move.
Football clubs are community assets and should be in the hands of those who care most about them.”
Alison Johnstone of the Scottish Greens
“In Scotland we were successful in ensuring that fan ownership has been pushed up the agenda. It is a model that has worked around the world, and something that is badly needed to stop the sort of moves we are seeing now.
“Football clubs are community assets and should be in the hands of those who care most about them. With a greater use of fan ownership, and more fan representation, we can ensure that communities are at the heart of our teams and our national sport.”
Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone, meanwhile, called for broadcasters to boycott any super league games.
Mr Stone, the party’s spokesman on sport, said: “For many years now, we have seen Premier League football evolve into a money-making machine that places greed above fans and the communities they represent.
“The Super League proposals are the most extreme example of oligarchs and tycoons robbing fans of the game we love.
“I suspect that if these plans go ahead, fans will boycott European Super League games. The final vestige of engagement with these damaging proposals is therefore broadcast media.”
Asked about the controversial plan earlier this week, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “I think the proposal is detrimental to football in general.
“It would help a small number of clubs that are already very well off and it would actually work against the smaller clubs and spectators of those clubs.”
Sport minister Mairi Gougeon, the SNP candidate in Angus North and Mearns, said: “The formation of the European Super League has demonstrated the importance of keeping fans at the centre of decision-making in their football clubs.
“It is vital that football clubs take decisions that are in the best interests of their communities and supporters.
“We know that fans sometimes need help to support and protect their club, which is why, if re-elected, the SNP will create a fan bank which will provide funds for fans to be able to purchase shares in their clubs, keeping them at the heart of their community.”