The government is holding urgent talks to stop plans for a European Super League “by the elite, for the elite”.

Ministers are considering “all the options” after the Big Six football clubs announced plans for a breakaway league with little real competition.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to make a statement to MPs from 3.30pm today amid an outpouring of political anger in the UK.

He commissioned civil servants last night to draw up an urgent list of options after meetings with the FA, UEFA and Premier League.

More meetings are expected today after Boris Johnson said the “very damaging” plans would “strike at the heart of the domestic game”.

The future Prime Minister in a charity match in 2006. He has led political condemnation of the plans
The future Prime Minister in a charity match in 2006. He has led political condemnation of the plans

Sources said the first step would be to back football authorities in “whatever action they think is appropriate”, including sanctions against clubs.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher told Sky News: “We don’t want to see a footballing league which is by the elite, for the elite, of the elite.

“We want to make sure grassroots sport is supported and fans are able to enjoy the kind of experience they’ve been able to over the last several years.

“So if there’s a choice to be made, we’re on the side of the fans.”

Mr Pincher would not be drawn on what the government will do next, but told Sky: "We'll talk to the Champions League, we'll talk to the FA, we'll be talking to all the players involved.

“Fundamentally we need to make sure that football retains its grassroots support, that there is money invested in grassroots football.

Emirates Stadium, home to Big Six club Arsenal
Emirates Stadium, home to Big Six club Arsenal

Reports suggest options include forcing clubs to let fans have at least 51% ownership and voting rights.

Mr Pincher refused to rule out teams being excluded from the FA Cup, or taking away organisational support for matches like policing.

He told LBC Radio: “We’re going to look at all the options”.

But Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the Tories had promised to review the role of fans in football, and it had not happened.

The Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto said: “We will set up a fan-led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners and Directors Test.

Keir Starmer warned a Super League would pull up the drawbridge to smaller clubs
Keir Starmer warned a Super League would pull up the drawbridge to smaller clubs

It came after Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City later announced they had signed up to a breakaway plan, and will be joined by teams from Italy and Spain.

The Super League is not designed to replace the Premier League, instead taking place instead of the existing Champions League.

The proposed competition would effectively destroy UEFA's premier competition, the Champions League, with the most marketable clubs no longer competing.

Uefa, the football associations of England, Spain and Italy, plus the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A have also spoken out against the move.

They reiterated Fifa's warning that players taking part in the Super League would be banned from other competitions - and could be banned from representing their national teams.

Labour leader Keir Starmer blasted the Super League plans overnight, saying: “It pulls up the drawbridge. It is designed for and by a small elite.

“But worst of all, it ignores the fans. The clubs involved in this proposal should rethink immediately. And if they don’t, they should face the consequences of their actions.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action.

“They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.

“The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”

Fans' groups, including those linked to Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea, have voiced their opposition to the clubs joining a super league.

Chelsea Supporters' Trust said football supporters worldwide have "experienced the ultimate betrayal", adding: "This is a decision of greed to line the pockets of those at the top and it has been made with no consideration for the loyal supporters, our history, our future or the future of football in this country."

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) put out a statement calling for club owners Enic to "distance themselves from any rebel group".

Tory MP Huw Merriman suggested teams who participate in the rebel competition should be expelled from the Premier League for this year.

"We could nip it in the bud straight away: either those six clubs disassociate themselves from this idea or expel them immediately from the Premier League competition for this year," he told BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour.