The Scottish Professional Professional Football League has vowed to “vehemently oppose” plans for a breakaway European league as it warned they represent a “clear danger” to the game.
The SPFL issued a strong statement outlining concerns over the proposed European Super League after 12 clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea signed up for a football revolution.
Chief executive Neil Doncaster said the Scottish league stood alongside UEFA, the European Leagues, the English Premier League and the “overwhelming majority of the game’s stakeholders in vehemently opposing” the controversial new competition.
“These proposals, or any like them, would have an enormously damaging impact on the very fabric of our sport at all levels. It is no surprise they have been so swiftly and overwhelmingly condemned by fans the world over,” Doncaster added.
“We believe that any such ‘competition’ would dramatically undermine the global appeal of football and would be financially catastrophic for all but a very tiny minority.
“The proposals we have seen, assembled by a small, self-selected group of very wealthy clubs, appear to be a cynical and very worrying attempt to thwart the core principle of sporting merit which rightly underpins European football. They represent a clear and present danger to the sport we all love.
“Now, more than ever, given what we have all been through over the past year, governments, together with the game’s governing bodies and leagues, need to work together to do what is right and protect the very essence of the game.
“The SPFL stands ready to support all efforts to fight for the principles of solidarity, sporting competition and fairness which lie at the very heart of the game.”
The league had earlier signalled its opposition to the breakaway clubs by posting a Twitter video of supporters from a number of its clubs under a message that read: “That’s not football. This is football.”
Individual Scottish clubs followed suit with the “this is football” messages on social media as they posted photographs of their fans at the heart of major days in their recent history.
Arbroath wrote: “You can’t BUY Love. You can’t BUY Passion. You can’t BUY Heart. You can’t BUY Loyalty. You can’t BUY Memories. We have been without YOU for far too long, we can’t wait to see YOU all again! This IS Football!”
The fallout from the controversy could affect Scotland boss Steve Clarke after UEFA declared that players who play in any unauthorised competition would be banned from representing their national teams. The 12 breakaway clubs have already taken legal steps to guard against such exclusions and FIFPro, the world players’ union, vowed to “vigorously oppose” any moves to ban players.
Clarke has four players currently among the dozen clubs – Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney, Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson, Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay and Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour.
Former Scotland full-back Callum Davidson said international football was always his priority as the row threatens to present players with a potential predicament.
The St Johnstone manager said: “First of all, I hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s a real difficult position to put players in.
“For me, international football was basically my drive, my aim. That was what I wanted to do. It wasn’t what club I played for, it was ‘can I play for my national team at a major tournament?’ That was my biggest drive.”
The former St Johnstone, Blackburn and Leicester player, who won 19 caps, added: “Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, I haven’t really looked into what they have said about it, but threats will probably come from all angles.
“It needs to be resolved and it probably needs to be resolved pretty quickly.”