Carlo Ancelotti has become the latest high-profile figure to hit out at the European Super League plans as he gets ready to take his Everton side to Arsenal, who were one of the 12 founding members.
Headlines have been dominated this week by the European Super League, which is now suspended after the Premier League’s Big Six led the way in withdrawing from the breakaway tournament in what was a hectic 48 hours.
The plans had been protested from across Europe, with fans, media, managers, and even politicians heavily opposing the Super League – which was backed by more than £4billion from JP Morgan and was viewed as a ‘closed shop’ with no relegation for those founding members.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti labelled the European Super League plans as ‘unacceptable’
And now Ancelotti has labelled the plans as ‘unacceptable’ before revealing he thought the whole thing was a ‘joke’.
Speaking ahead of Everton’s trip to Arsenal in the Premier League on Friday night, Ancelotti said: ‘I was sure that the Super League was not going to happen.
‘These 12 clubs were wrong. They didn’t consider the players, managers or supporters. They wanted a competition without sporting merit. This is not acceptable.’
When asked specifically about his initial response to Sunday’s dramatic announcement, Ancelotti amusingly revealed: ‘I thought they were joking.’
Then when the Italian, who has previously managed four of the founding 12 teams – Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea and Real Madrid – was pressed on whether the members should be punished for signing up, he refused to give a definitive answer.
Everton take on Arsenal on Friday, whose owner Stan Kroenke backed the Super League
‘I’m not the right person to judge if they should be punishment,’ Ancelotti added during his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
‘Everyone can make mistakes, but I cannot say if they have to be punished or not.’
Ancelotti’s scathing comments follow Everton issuing a withering response to the Super League plans as soon as they were confirmed.
Toffees majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri called for a points deduction to the runaway six in the Premier League.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Moshiri said: ‘I think the Premier League should deduct points from these clubs.
‘Every facet of this is against the idea of British football. This is six clubs attacking the Premier League and should be punished. Football’s about competition, every club can outperform the other.’
Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri (R) said the founding Super League members from the Premier League should be deducted points
Issuing a statement on Tuesday morning, the Merseyside club said: ‘Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs.
‘Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests. Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game. Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table. Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond.
‘At this time of national and international crisis – and a defining period for our game – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost.
‘Instead, these clubs have been secretly conspiring to break away from a football pyramid that has served them so well. And in that Pyramid Everton salutes EVERY club, be it Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, Gillingham, Lincoln City, Morecambe, Southend United, Notts County and the rest who have, with their very being, enriched the lives of their supporters throughout the game’s history. And vice versa.
Ancelotti revealed he thought the plans, spearheaded by Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez, were a joke when he first heard of them
‘The self-proclaimed Super Six appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game – including their own – by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat. The backlash is understandable and deserved – and has to be listened to.
‘This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan. On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practices that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.
‘Finally we would ask the owners, chairmen, and Board members of the six clubs to remember the privileged position they hold – not only as custodians of their clubs but also custodians of the game. The responsibility they carry should be taken seriously.
‘We urge them all to consider what they wish their legacy to be.’