Boris Johnson 'backed ESL plans but then joined the backlash'

Boris Johnson ‘backed plans for a European Super League despite not knowing anything about it – but then joined the backlash when he realised it was unpopular’

  • PM’s chief of staff told him about plans for the league, a source has claimed 
  • He ‘doesn’t know much about football so he said it was a great idea’, source said
  • The Prime Minister condemned the plans for the ‘big six’ English football clubs to join a European Super League amid a fierce backlash from fans

Boris Johnson gave plans for the controversial European Super League the go-ahead before then reversed the position amid a backlash, sources say. 

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield, told him about the idea following a Downing Street meeting with Manchester United chair Ed Woodward, one source said. 

The Government insider told The Mirror: ‘Boris doesn’t know much about football so he said it was a great idea. So Dan told the clubs No10 wouldn’t stand in their way. Then it all kicked off.’

A second source close to the football clubs said Mr Johnson seemed to have given Mr Rosenfield the feeling he would be happy for the plans to go ahead. 

Boris Johnson gave plans for the controversial European Super League the go-ahead before then reversed the position amid a backlash, sources say

They said: ‘Ed came back to the clubs to say they had got the green light from No 10. Dan would not have freelanced all the way through without checking Boris’s view.’

Number 10 has denied the proposals were discussed at the meeting before the ESL plan was revealed. 

Mr Johnson, who met Mr Woodward briefly after the meeting, only learned about the proposal when the clubs confirmed it, Downing Street insists.  

The Prime Minister condemned the plans for the ‘big six’ English football clubs to join a Super League amid a fierce backlash from fans. 

Sources have alleged that Mr Rosenfield has felt ‘unhappy and undermined’ since he joined the Downing Street team in December, but a No 10 spokesman said claims that he plans to leave are ‘completely untrue’. 

Last night it was revealed that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus over their involvement in the aborted European Super League.

The Prime Minister condemned the plans for the ‘big six’ English football clubs to join a Super League amid a fierce backlash from fans (pictured: Manchester United fans hold ‘Go Glazers Out’ banners at Old Trafford, Manchester, May 18)

The three teams were the only ones of 12 original breakaway clubs who did not subsequently renounce the competition and reaffirm their commitment to UEFA.

A UEFA statement read: ‘Following an investigation conducted by UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspectors in connection with the so-called ”Super League” project, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Juventus FC for a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework.’

The European governing body had opened a disciplinary investigation into the three clubs two weeks ago.

The nine other clubs – the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid – committed to the existing national and international competitions, with the threat of heavy fines and expulsion were they to renew their interest in the breakaway project.

They agreed to make a combined €15million (just over £13m) goodwill contribution to benefit children’s and grassroots football across Europe.

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