OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER and Mikel Arteta avoided answering questions on their clubs’ controversial European Super League plans.
Both Manchester United and Arsenal have signed up for the breakaway competition, which was officially announced on Sunday evening, leaving their Premier League futures in doubt.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not interested in discussing the European Super LeagueCredit: Getty
And neither was Arsenal manager Mikel ArtetaCredit: EPA
The proposal has been called “criminal” by Red Devils legend Gary Neville and was even slammed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
English football’s ‘big six’ clubs – United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City – have all agreed to join the new competition.
The plot appears to be driven by money with European Super League clubs receiving an initial payment of £310MILLION for signing up, plus a minimum of £130m each season.
Speaking after United’s 3-1 win against Burnley, Solskjaer said: “I’ve seen this morning the news and speculation. I can’t really say too much because my focus has been on this game.
“I haven’t looked into it, I’ve just been focused on this game so I need to sit down and see what it is.”
Arteta, speaking after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Fulham, also remained quiet, saying: “I don’t know anything about it.
“Once I know every detail and have all the information then I can evaluate the situation and give you my opinion.”
They make up 12 of what will be 15 founding clubs, who cannot be relegated from the closed-shop elite.
Five clubs will be entitled to qualify every year, with the season running from August to May.
All matches will be played in midweek slots, with the clubs insistent they will be able to continue to play in their domestic leagues and “preserve the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game”.
Although a damning statement from the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A claimed any club taking part would be “banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level.”
The 20 clubs will be split into two groups of 10, playing 18 games – nine home and nine away – with the top three in each group qualifying automatically for the last eight knock-out stage.
Teams finishing fourth and fifth in each group will then play off to fill the final two knock-out slots, with the ties played over two legs apart from a one-off final “which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue”.
The proposals have been condemned by the wider footballing community, with Neville – a co-owner of League Two side Salford City – Neville labelling owners ‘impostors’ and ‘bottle merchants’ and called for clubs to be relegated and stripped of their titles.
Gary Lineker, tweeted: “Sense this Super League plot will die on its preposterous and avaricious a**e.”
UK Prime Minister Johnson tweeted: “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.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.