Angry football fans are calling for English clubs involved in the formation of the now scrapped European Super League to be punished, insisting their own clubs have been fined or had points deducted for lesser offences.
Every member of the Premier League’s so-called Big Six has now withdrawn from plans to form a breakaway competition, with its founder, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, admitting the project lies in tatters.
It is still unclear what punishment will follow from FIFA, UEFA, the FA and Premier League for those teams involved but fans have urged football’s authorities to not let the domestic game’s power brokers off lightly.
Football fans have demanded the authorities do not let the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ get away with their plans to set up a European Super League
The plans – backed by Manchester United’s Glazer family – were scrapped on Tuesday night under mounting pressure
Angry fans of other clubs have demanded the ‘Big Six’ be punished like they have been before
There have been concerns raised among pundits that any punishment handed to the ‘Big Six’ must take into account that the breakaway was imposed on their fans, staff and payers who have since campaigned heavily to stop it.
But furious calls for sanctions are coming from the likes of West Ham, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Leeds fans, who say their clubs were punished for offences that also had nothing to do with the fan base.
West Ham were fined a staggering £5.5million over the signing of Carlos Tevez in 2006, which was adjudged to have broken Premier League rules on third-party ownership.
The Hammers then lost a High Court battle with Sheffield United, after a Tevez goal relegated them to the Championship in 2007, and had to pay huge damages with West Ham’s owner Bjorgofur Gudmundsson already on the brink of bankruptcy.
The club was eventually taken over by CB Hold after Gudmundsson’s bankruptcy in 2009 before current owners David Sullivan and David Gold took over in 2010.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, were fined £50,000 and docked three points after failing to play a Premier League match at Blackburn in 1997.
Bryan Robson’s side cancelled the game at Ewood Park with 24 hours’ notice because they were unable to field a team for the huge relegation showdown due to sickness and injuries.
The punishment left Boro bottom of the Premier League, four points adrift of 19th-placed Southampton. Boro would end the season getting relegated by just two points.
Leeds, who were promoted back to the Premier League last season, were fined £200,000 in 2019 after Marcelo Bielsa’s sent a staff member to spy on a Derby County training session.
Portsmouth fans have also complained after they were docked nine points in 2010 and 10 points in 2012 for going into administration – which eventually saw them relegated all the way down to League One.
Now fans of those clubs and others are demanding sanctions be imposed on the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ for threatening to completely alter the football landscape under the hashtag ‘#punishthe6’.
One West Ham fan tweeted: ‘Never forget that we were heavily fined for Tevez, to the extend we nearly went bust and lost the club we loved. The big six won’t get punished and instead rewarded’.
A Middlesbrough fan posted: ‘Middlesbrough refuse to play a game in ’97 – docked 3 points. Any team enters admin – docked 12 points. The ‘big 6’ try to destroy the English game and break PL rules in the process – ‘no, don’t punish the players and the fans’. Premier League plastics are deluded!
PriceOfFootball tweeted: ‘Given that Leeds were fined £200k for watching a training session through a hedge, how much will the PL & UEFA fine the Greedy Six executives for sitting in on commercially sensitive broadcast & commercial negotiations whilst plotting their own rival competition?’
An angry Portsmouth fan added: ‘#Pompey deducted 9 points in 2010, ending stay in the prem with an FA Cup final v Chelsea. Deducted another 10 points in 2012, relegating us to League 1. All down to ownership, not the fans, but we are where we are.’
On Tuesday night, Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness appeared to suggest the clubs involved should not be punished.
When asked if they should be fined or have points deducted, he said: ‘No, who are you punishing? If you punish the club, you are really punishing the supporters. The players have done nothing wrong and the supporters have done nothing wrong.
‘The people at the top will be punished by the supporters themselves. They can’t go to the games anymore or if they do, good luck.’
Graeme Souness suggested on Sky that punishing clubs will mean punishing players and fans
West Brom manager Sam Allardyce has demanded the ‘Big Six’ clubs do not get off lightly
West Brom manager Sam Allardyce demanded hefty sanctions for the ‘Big Six’ clubs on Wednesday.
He said: ‘If I breach any rules, I get sanctioned. In this case they’ve broken the rules. I don’t know what the form of punishment should be, but certainly if you’ve broken the rules then you need to pay for that.
‘There are lessons to be learned for the governing bodies who run our game, unless we learn those lessons quickly and protect better the structure of our game, we’re likely to see this again and again.
‘It’s not a new idea, it might’ve been a new format but it’s been talked about for years. The bigger boys want a bigger share of the pot. Luckily that’s been resisted and rightly so.
‘This stinks of the American system for me. Three of the six owners are based in America. Now is the time for everyone to come together.
‘I am talking about the stakeholders: supporters’ trusts, the PFA, the LMA, the FA, the EFL, and the Premier League.
‘We need better rules and regulations and then we may avoid this situation again. Until then, we’ll still find ourselves open down the line to some other changes on the basis of clubs wanting more money.’