The breakaway European Super League is an attempt to stitch up the game so many love, to grab more money for a few elite clubs at the top. It would do untold damage to football and communities across the UK. I stand with all football fans in Bristol West at this worrying time.
Football teams do a huge amount of work to support the community. In my constituency, Bristol Rovers works to encourage youth participation in sport, tackle loneliness in older and isolated people, offer apprenticeships and employment opportunities, and create a wider football community. This shows that football is so much more than just the game. This new plan could prevent clubs like Bristol Rovers from competing in tournaments and would divert vital money from the club and the important work of the community trust.
It’s also about the fans, the traditions, and the communities that teams are embedded in – I’ve seen the joy that local league teams such as Easton Cowboys & Cowgirls, Bristol Panthers, and Bristol Bisons bring to constituents who could begin to play matches and train together again recently.
This must be a watershed moment. The European Super League is driven by the greed of owners, it’s bankrolled by JP Morgan, and it’s at the expense of fans – led by a group who don’t care about any of the value it brings to the UK or the integrity of the game.
That’s why Labour has called for the Competitions and Market Authority to investigate the proposed Super League – and this comes after our calls for a long overdue review into football governance, something the Conservatives promised in their election manifesto but failed to deliver.
It’s also why Keir Starmer has said today that we need to look at different models of ownership for our football clubs, to give the fans a much greater say in the future of their clubs, because football belongs to its fans.
The Tories need to show whose side they are on – the millionaire football owners or the fans. We must work towards a football structure that is modern, accountable, and above all, puts fans at the heart of their clubs.