Football

Six English ESL breakaway clubs agree to pay £20m to grassroots causes


The six English clubs who attempted to join the European Super League have agreed a settlement with the Premier League that will see them pay an expected £20m between them to grassroots causes. The sum, which is likely to be confirmed by the Premier League on Wednesday, is more than was agreed with Uefa in a similar act of contrition but still amounts to less per club than they would pay an average squad member in a year.

A further condition agreed between the Premier League and the clubs is understood to involve a much bigger fine – estimated to be in the region of £30m per club – and a 30-point deduction should the clubs attempt such a breakaway again. Under the terms of the ESL, the six – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – had planned to continue playing in their domestic leagues as well as in the invitation-only competition.

The Premier League has previously announced that it will attempt to close off the possibility of future breakaways by changing the competition’s rules. The size of the punishment doled out to the clubs, however, will be seen as evidence of how dependent the league is on its biggest names for its global success.

Under the terms of the ESL deal, individual “founder” clubs were set to earn £250m simply for signing up to the project. That money would have been in effect loaned by the bank JP Morgan, however, and offset against future TV revenues.

The government’s review of football in England, led by the former sports minister Tracey Crouch MP, is also likely to look at the possibility of stopping future threats to the English football pyramid. The review is expected to come to preliminary conclusions before the Houses of Parliament go into summer recess.



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