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European Super League: Six English clubs fined £22m by Premier League

Chelsea fans protest against the European Super League
The ESL proposals sparked a number of fan protests outside the clubs’ stadiums

The six Premier League clubs involved in the European Super League (ESL) have been fined a combined total of £22m.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal wanted to form a breakaway league, a plan that was widely criticised across football and by the UK government.

A further fine of £25m each and a 30-point deduction will be applied should they attempt a similar project again.

The FA and Premier League say the £22m is “a gesture of goodwill” from clubs.

In a joint statement the league and the national governing body confirmed the money “will go towards the good of the game”, which includes “new investment in support for fans” and will help fund grassroots and community projects.

“The six clubs involved in proposals to form a European Super League have today acknowledged once again that their actions were a mistake, and have reconfirmed their commitment to the Premier League and the future of the English game,” the two bodies said in a statement.

“They have wholeheartedly apologised to their fans, fellow clubs, the Premier League and the FA.

“The Premier League and the FA have worked closely together throughout this process and this agreement brings both investigations into the matter to a conclusion.”

BBC Sport understands Manchester United’s owners the Glazer family, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group, Arsenal’s majority shareholders Kroenke Sports Enterprises and Tottenham’s owners will pay the fine rather than their clubs.

Nine of the ESL clubs – the six Premier League sides, plus AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid – were fined a similar amount by European governing body Uefa last month.

They agreed to pay 15m euros (£13.4m) between them and have 5% of their Uefa competition revenues held for one season, starting in 2023-24.

The other three clubs involved – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – are set to face “appropriate action” under Uefa’s disciplinary process having so far refused to renounce the breakaway league.

Football Supporters’ Association chair Malcolm Clarke says the action taken by the Premier League should not be the end of the matter if it wants to ensure a similar breakaway proposal will not return in the future.

“Whatever punishment the Premier League’s in-house process decides upon, it cannot guarantee that clubs won’t try similar again in the decades ahead,” he said.

“The European Super League’s legacy should be a total restructure of the game – an independent regulator, genuine power to fans, and wealth redistribution.”

The negative reaction to the ESL has sparked a huge debate about how football is run.

The government has already announced a fan-led review into football governance and the prospect of an independent regulator in English football is set for a parliamentary debate after a petition, launched by a number of ex-footballers, gained more than 100,000 signatures.

What happened with the European Super League?

English football’s ‘big six’ were part of a group that announced plans to form the breakaway league on 18 April.

It was quickly condemned by fans, football authorities and government ministers in the UK, and across Europe by Uefa and league associations. Leading players at some of the six clubs also signalled their disapproval.

Fan protests took place before Liverpool’s game against Leeds at Elland Road on 19 April and Chelsea’s meeting with Brighton at Stamford Bridge the following day.

By that stage there was already speculation Manchester City and Chelsea were considering pulling out of the league, and by the end of the night all six Premier League clubs had announced their intention to withdraw.

La Liga club Atletico Madrid and Italian sides AC Milan and Inter Milan pulled out the following day, prompting Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli to admit the project could no longer proceed.

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