Liverpool last night confirmed they have signed up for a controversial proposed new European Super League that could have huge ramifications for the future of the club.
The Reds are one of six Premier League clubs named among the 12 founding clubs of the competition.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are also part of the group from the English top-flight.
While La Liga's Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and Serie A's AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus are all involved too.
Liverpool’s involvement in the new competition has been met with disapproval from fan groups, while many supporters have expressed their outrage on social media.
Former Reds stars Danny Murphy and Jamie Carragher have both condemned the move, and below is how the national media have reported on yesterday’s news.
'To adapt a Liverpool slogan, this means more cash'
Henry Winter of The Times wrote : “After a year in which their staff, players and supporters kept going out into their local communities, feeding the hungry and comforting the vulnerable, the owners of the self-entitled “big six” English clubs now show their contempt for the concept of togetherness. They don’t care about food banks, only banks.
“The greed of the owners of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, and their continental partners-in-crime in the larcenous European Super League is to be expected, of course. That’s the modern game for this unprincipled pack of 21st Century Packers. Cash. They’re living in a materialism world. That’s why they want this closed shop. To adapt a Liverpool slogan, this means more cash.
“The value of their investments will be enhanced by a money-spinning European Super League. Cash in.”
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Before he continued: “So good luck to John W Henry telling patriots such as Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson, Sadio Mané and Mo Salah that they cannot represent their countries. The plotters simply have not thought things through.
“Uefa has lawyers, too. Even if the rebels want to push ahead with their offensive scheme, it is more likely to end up in courts than on the fields of play. What an unedifying spectacle for the sport at a time when those six clubs, and their European counterparts, should be showing togetherness with the rest, and thanking the key workers for their sacrifice and their fans for their patience and loyalty. Instead, the European Super Leaguers treat the sport that enriches them with clear scorn.”
'A plastic competition, watched by plastic fans'
Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail wrote: “A plastic competition, watched by plastic fans, of plastic clubs. Forget the past, forget the Busby Babes, or the treble, forget Istanbul, or the doubles. These might as well be new clubs, in a new league, and newly moulded, in plastic.
“A league that no-one else can get into; a league that you can't get out of no matter how useless you are. The end of meritocracy. That's plastic. A plastic closed shop that only the shallowest glory hunters would find distracting. That's why the venture capitalist owners of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool so love it.
“They know the price of everything and the value of nothing, as Oscar Wilde had it. He was defining cynicism, of course. He could have been defining Messrs Henry, Glazer and Kroenke, and their lousy acolytes. Last night's mealy-mouthed statement, full of faux-concern for the football pyramid, was the most cynical exercise of all.
“A sickening, self-serving attempted justification of what is at heart nothing but an attempted coup and which, one hopes, will be received and rejected with the contempt it deserves. They should all be expelled from their leagues and UEFA competition this season, this instant, and left to negotiate on the outside.”
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'Who hates football so much that they want to prune it'
Jonathan Liew of the Guardian wrote : “Because make no mistake: this is an idea that could only have been devised by someone who truly hates football to its bones. Who hates football so much that they want to prune it, gut it, dismember it, from the grassroots game to the World Cup. Who finds the very idea of competitive sport offensive, an unhealthy distraction from the main objective, which in a way has always been capitalism’s main objective.
“Unchecked and unquestioned, capital has never merely contented itself with a seat at the table, but will invariably demand the power to make its own rules. This, in large part, is what appears to have happened here.
“On Sunday afternoon, 12 clubs formed a breakaway: three from Italy, three from Spain and six from England. There was an acrid sense of timing, too: coming just as Arsenal (European elite) were scraping a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham (non-European elite), just as Juventus were being beaten (and overtaken in the Serie A table) by little Atalanta, just as Lyon’s women were succumbing to Paris Saint-Germain: their first Champions League defeat in four years and the first rumbling portent that their golden era is about to be trampled by the march of the global super-clubs.
“At the heart of this move, then, is a distaste for the basic point of sport itself: a battle of nations and cultures, towns and regions, ideas and systems, an ecosystem with a top and a middle and a bottom, something you go out and play as well as sit down and pay for. Perhaps this had long been an unfashionable idea at the sharp end of the game.”