Barcelona insist they are remaining "loyal" to their history after signing up to the controversial European Super League but believe the move is part of "great changes" required in world football.

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and Barca along with two other Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament that has long been speculated about, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though it is said the competition plans to expand to 15 teams before its inaugural season, which will start "as soon as practicable".

The Premier League's so-called 'big six' – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham – are the teams to have signed up alongside Real Madrid, Barca, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and their city rivals Inter.

Following speculation earlier in the day that prompted a withering response from UEFA, a joint announcement was made by several of the clubs late on Sunday, confirming plans were in place and the initial 12 founding clubs had an agreement.

The lengthy statement revealed the competition will have five guest teams added to the finalised 15 founding clubs and will run as a midweek tournament alongside the domestic leagues – those clubs in power will share €3.5billion "solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic".

While the plans have been met with widespread condemnation due to the competition guaranteeing places – and vast revenue – to a closed group of clubs, those involved claim they have the best interests of football in mind.

Barca are no different, adamant it is their responsibility to help develop the sport.

At their end of their version of the uniform statement, which they did not release until Monday morning, Barcelona said: "FC Barcelona, loyal to its history and its leadership role within the framework of European Football, once again places itself as a leading club with regards to the great changes that are needed in the world of football, thinking always in the how to benefit the club best from a sporting, institutional and financial point of view."

UEFA, the national associations of England, Spain and Italy, plus LaLiga, Serie A and the Premier League signed a joint statement on Sunday that threatened any team involved in the Super League will be excluded from domestic and international competitions.

The Supporters' Trusts of Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal slammed the announcement of a breakaway competition to rival UEFA's Champions League, the European Super League (ESL).

Chelsea, Tottenham, United and Arsenal are among the 12 teams confirmed to form the new Super League, which also includes Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as LaLiga trio Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Serie A's Juventus, Inter and Milan.

Despite significant opposition from UEFA, the respective leagues and the UK Government, and widespread condemnation, the ESL's plans were confirmed on Sunday.

It has been met with strong criticism, with Chelsea Supporters' Trust releasing a damning statement in response.

"They say expect the unexpected, but today the Chelsea Supporters' Trust [CST], our members and football supporters across the world have experienced the ultimate betrayal," the statement read.

"This is a decision of greed to line the pockets of those at the top and it has been made with no consideration for the loyal supporters, our history, our future of the future of football in this country.

"It is likely that this proposal with never come into existence, however, it speaks volumes that [Chelsea] are prepared to risk our existence in the Premier League and the FA Cup.

"The CST has held extensive talks with CFC over the past few weeks regarding various issues and there has been no mention of his secretive proposal. The CST and its members demand answers. This is unforgiveable. Enough is enough."

Arsenal Supporters' Trust tweeted: "The death of Arsenal as a sporting institution."

Tottenham Supporters' Trust issued a powerful statement, saying: "Tottenham Hotspur was the first British club to win a European trophy. We blazed a trail that caught the imagination of fans everywhere. Yesterday, the current Board of THFC betrayed the club, its history and the magic that makes this game so special when they put their name to a statement announcing the formation of a breakaway European Super League.

"This statement, signed by self-appointed 'leading clubs', was put out late on a Sunday night. It was made not only after no consultation with supporters, but in the face of clearly stated opposition to key parts of the announcement. 
 
"We have always tried to maintain a pragmatic position of engagement with the Board of THFC, even under the most trying of circumstances. But enough is enough. The current Board is prepared to risk the club's reputation and its future in the opportunistic pursuit of greed. One of England's most famous clubs could find itself expelled from English league competition. Its players could be banned from international competition. And yet the current owners – mere custodians of a 139-year-old institution – are prepared to risk it all for avarice and self-aggrandisement.
 
"We demand the Board immediately disassociates itself from the breakaway league. Only then can meaningful discussions about change take place. If the Board does not do this, we will have no choice but to call on new owners prepared to safeguard the past, present and future of our great club to step forward and work with us."

Manchester United Supporters' Trust added: "A 'Super League' based on a closed shop of self-selected wealthy clubs goes against everything football, and Manchester United, should stand for.

"To bring forward these proposals without any fan consultation, and in the midst of a global pandemic when people should be pulling together not serving their own selfish interests, just adds insult to injury."

Manchester United co-chairman and vice-chairman of the European Super League (ESL) Joel Glazer said the breakaway competition will provide "increased financial support for the wider football pyramid".

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament to rival the Champions League, which has long been in the offing, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

The Premier League's "big six" – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham – are the teams to have signed up alongside LaLiga champions Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Serie A holders Juventus, Milan and their city rivals Inter.

The Glazer family have long been scrutinised since purchasing United in 2005, and Joel – who also serves as chairman of NFL Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – addressed Sunday's announcement.

"By bringing together the world's greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid," he said in a statement.

UEFA was joined by the top five European leagues and the English Football Association (FA) in opposing the plans, while FIFA also expressed its "disapproval" of the new competition.

Former United captain Gary Neville called for harsh punishment of the Premier League sides involved, including relegation.

Rio Ferdinand, who played alongside Neville at Old Trafford, was also scathing of the Premier League clubs.

Asked if the teams should face immediate sanctions, Ferdinand told BT Sport: "100 per cent. I think this breakaway group of teams, this is a war on football. It's a disgrace. It's embarrassing. And it goes against everything football is about.

"It's a closed shop for these bigwigs and it's completely and utterly only about one thing and that's money. The rich getting richer and the others not even being considered. There's no consideration for the history, for the people in the different parts of the pyramid below the top, top teams that they’re trying to separate from.

"It's a disgrace, I can't believe it.  How have they got the audacity to do it in the climate we're in at the moment with the pandemic around the world? People struggling in the streets, people struggling all around the world, and these lot are sitting there in their own little pub or room somewhere, speaking and talking and colluding about this little idea they've had and then come out and break it like this.

"It's a disgrace and I think the element of being anti-competitive goes against everything football is about. Relegation, promotion, being rewarded for winning, being punished for not winning: these are things that add to the value of our game that we love.

"It shows me that these people have no idea what football is about. It's purely a business transaction, that's it. There's no thought for anyone else in the pyramid, there's no consideration at all. I can't believe it.

"The people that actually support this game and make it what it is – we've been here all this time without fans, with them this game doesn't feel the same. And they're the people that this is going to hurt more than anyone, and the grassroots. The people that make this game special are not being considered, it's the people at the top end of the game who are making decisions without thinking about anything other than their pockets."

On United, Ferdinand added: "I'm embarrassed. There's been so many things thrown at the owners over the past few years, but this situation now – to be a part of that group that want to break away and leave everybody for dead – that's an embarrassment.

"I can't believe it. I'm sorry, I'm a Man United fan, I love the club, but I can't stand by and support something like that at all."

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher labelled the Premier League giants "an embarrassment" for electing to join football's new Super League.

The Reds, last season's Premier League champions, are among six teams from England to have signed up for the new competition.

They will be joined by Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, with Spain represented by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and Italy by Juventus, Milan and Inter.

Three further clubs are lined up to become founder members of a competition which could cast doubt on the future of the Champions League.

UEFA and the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A have attacked the idea of the breakaway competition, along with the respective football associations of England, Spain and Italy.

Former Liverpool defender Carragher wrote on Twitter: "What an embarrassment we’ve become @LFC think of all the people who have come before us at this club who would be equally embarrassed as well. #SuperLeague."

FIFA said it could "only express its disapproval" at the move by the powerful clubs, who intend to carry on competing in their respective domestic leagues as well as playing in the Super League.

World football's governing body called for "calm, constructive and balanced dialogue" over the prospect of a split in the game. It was reported late on Sunday that the clubs involved have all left the European Club Association (ECA), which was previously chaired by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli.

Former England captain Gary Lineker suspects conversations will be held that result in less of a rupture than now appears apparent.

Shortly before the 12 clubs made their expected stance official, Lineker wrote: "Looking forward to the compromise with UEFA and the clubs....which, I sense, is what this is all been designed for. A power play."

Florentino Perez, the first chairman of the European Super League (ESL), has vowed that the breakaway competition "will help football and take it to its rightful place in the world".

It was announced on Sunday that 12 of Europe's leading football clubs have agreed to establish a new midweek competition to rival the Champions League.

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create the tournament, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

A statement released on Sunday read: "AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atletico de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs. 

"It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

"Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole."

Perez was announced as the chairman of the ESL, which he will balance with his duties as Real Madrid president.

Despite the widespread criticism aimed at the founding clubs involved, with the English Football Association (FA) warning it would hurt football "at all levels", Perez insisted it is a move that will be good for the game.

"We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world," he said.  "Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires."

The rogue competition has also been given the full backing of Juventus chairman and newly appointed ESL vice-chairman Andrea Agnelli, whose role as European Club Association (ECA) chairman and a member of the UEFA executive committee has been cast in doubt.

"Our 12 founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies," he said. 

"We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models."

FIFA has joined UEFA and Europe's leading leagues and football associations in condemning the announcement of a new European Super League.

Widespread media reports emerged on Sunday suggesting 12 teams – six from England, three from Spain and three from Italy – had elected to form a breakaway competition.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League runners-up Paris Saint-Germain are not currently involved, though the official announcement of the competition made an intention to include more teams clear.

UEFA had been set to announce changes to the Champions League from 2024 onwards on Monday, were vociferous in their opposition, and proposed sanctions included banning the 12 member clubs from their competitions.

The Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga also criticised the move, while the English Football Association (FA) – with the backing of the UK Government – suggested it would take legal action to prevent Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham from joining.

FIFA has now issued its response, and while it was perhaps not as strong in condemning the move, it nevertheless expressed its concern, and confirmed it stood by UEFA.

"FIFA wishes to clarify that it stands firm in favour of solidarity in football and an equitable redistribution model which can help develop football as a spot, particularly at global level, since the development of global football is the primary mission of FIFA," a statement read.

"In our view, and in accordance with our statutes, any football competition, whether national, regional or global, should always reflect the core principles of solidarity, inclusivity, equitable financial redistribution.

"Moreover, the governing bodies of football should employ all lawful, sporting and diplomatic means to ensure this remains the case. Against this background, FIFA can only express its disapproval to a "closed European breakaway league" outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles."

The statement went on to conclude: "FIFA will, of course, do whatever is necessary to contribute to a harmonised way forward in the overall interests of football."

The controversial new European Super League will involve 20 teams playing in two leagues before a two-leg knockout format to determine the two finalists. 

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament which has long been in the offing, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though it is said the competition plans to expand to 15 teams before its inaugural season, which will start "as soon as practicable".

Premier League sides Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have signed up alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Inter.

UEFA, along with Europe's top five leagues and corresponding football associations, all strongly emphasised their opposition to the proposal, and vowed to sanction those involved.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the new competition's organisers revealed its format. 

Fifteen founding clubs will be joined by five further teams, who it is said will qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season. 

Starting in August – although the statement did not confirm whether that will be this year – clubs will be split into two groups of 10, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals. 

Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. 

A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

The statement said all fixtures will take place in midweek, with clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed the UK Government's backing of football authorities over opposition to proposals for a breakaway European Super League.

In an emphatic response to widespread media reports, UEFA – together with the English Football Association (FA), Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Serie A – publicised their collective opposition to the proposals. 

One of the sanctions put forward by UEFA was to ban the 12 teams from participating in its club competitions, namely the Champions League and Europa League.

An official statement from the newly formed European Super League followed late on Sunday, European time.

Six Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham – along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Milan and Juventus, are the teams involved.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain have not been included, with reports suggesting the sides had opted not to join.

The FA warned a European Super League would hurt football "at all levels", stating any closed-shop tournament would go against long-standing principles of the game.

Oliver Dowden, the UK Government's culture secretary, said clubs signing up for any such project would be neglecting their duty to supporters by taking away their say, and Johnson later expanded on his party's stance.

"Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action," a statement on Johnson's official Twitter account read.

"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."

UEFA also alluded to FIFA's threat of barring players from the World Cup should they play for teams who choose to participate in a European Super League, and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) said it had "substantial concerns regarding the wide-ranging implications of the proposed European Super League concept."

A statement read: "This proposed move would detract from the strength and joy of domestic football and diminish the game for the vast majority of fans across the continent.

"Clubs across all domestic competitions are not equal, each having differing financial starting points. However, success is never guaranteed, often cyclical and always earned.

"We have seen countless examples around Europe of teams outperforming their resources. In recent years, at home in the Premier League, this has resulted in unrivalled global entertainment and sporting drama.

"A system that rewards all clubs for success is paramount. In England, we are privileged to enjoy the most professional teams, the most professional players and in normal times, the highest aggregate attendances across the world. This success is achieved by working together and in solidarity."

The creation of a European Super League took a step closer to reality on Sunday as 12 leading clubs agreed plans for a new competition.

Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament which has long been in the offing, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though it is said the competition plans to expand to 15 teams before its inaugural season, which will start "as soon as practicable".

The Premier League's "big six" are the teams to have signed up alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and their city rivals Inter.

It is an announcement which comes just before UEFA was set to confirm its intentions to alter the format of the Champions League from 2024 onwards. 

UEFA, along with Europe's top five leagues and corresponding football assocations, all strongly emphasised their opposition to the proposal, and vowed to sanction those involved.

Yet a statement released on Sunday read: "Twelve of Europe's leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.

"AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atletico de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

"Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole."

The European Club Association (ECA) has joined UEFA in condemning proposals for a new European Super League.

Widespread reports emerged on Sunday of an agreement in place between 12 European clubs to form a breakaway competition.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are the clubs involved, although confirmation is still pending.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich, along with last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain, were not included.

UEFA, Europe's top leagues and football associations confirmed their opposition to the proposal, which drew a mass of criticism from pundits and fans alike.

With UEFA set to announce changes to the format of the Champions League from 2024 onwards on Monday, the ECA reiterated its commitment to those proposed alterations, and insisted it would stand against a Super League.

An emergency meeting of the ECA was held on Sunday. According to reports, none of the 12 teams making up the proposed breakaway competition responded to invitations to attend, though PSG and Bayern were represented. 

"In light of today's reports on the subject of a so-called breakaway league, the ECA as the body representing 246 leading clubs across Europe, reiterates its stated commitment to working on developing the UEFA Club Competitions (UCCs) model with UEFA for the cycle beginning 2024 and that a 'closed super league model' to which media articles refer would be strongly opposed by the ECA," a statement read.

The ECA statement went on to outline the body's intention to "work with UEFA on a renewed structure for European Club Football as a whole post 2024", before concluding that "the ECA Executive Board will be convening over the coming days to take appropriate decisions in light of any further developments".

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal should be relegated from the Premier League if they announce their intention to join a European Super League, Gary Neville has claimed.

UEFA was joined by the top five European Leagues and the English Football Association in opposing the plans, which are reportedly set to be announced on Sunday.

The Premier League's "big six" teams, plus Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, Milan and Juventus are the 12 sides said to be involved. Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are not included.

During United's win over Burnley on Sunday, Neville suggested points deductions would be a reasonable punishment and, after the match, the Sky Sports pundit expanded on his fury at the proposals, labelling it a "criminal act against football fans."

"The reaction to it is that it's been damned and rightly so. I'm a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years but I'm disgusted, absolutely disgusted," said the former Red Devils full-back.

"It's an absolute disgrace and we have to wrestle back the power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league and that includes my club.

"I've been calling for 12 months to have an independent regulator to bring checks and balances in place to stop this happening, it's pure greed. They're imposters, the owners of Liverpool, United, City – they're nothing to do with football in this country, a hundred and odd years of history of fans who love their clubs and they need protecting.

"United aren't even in the Champions League, Arsenal aren't, they're a shambles of a club at the moment, Tottenham aren't, and they want a God-given right to be in there? Stop these clubs having a power base, enough is enough.

"The motivation is greed. My reaction earlier wasn't an emotional one, deduct them all points tomorrow, put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them.

"You've got to stamp on this, it's criminal, it's a criminal act against football fans, make no mistake about it. Deduct points, their money and punish them.

"If they announce a letter of intent has been signed then they should be punished, heavily, massive fines, points deductions, take the titles off them, who cares.

"Give the title to Burnley, let Fulham stay up, relegate United, Liverpool and Arsenal, those three clubs have the history and should be the ones that should suffer most."

Neville also hit out at the owners of the clubs involved, adding: "They're bottle merchants, you never hear from the owners of these clubs, absolute bottle merchants, they've got no voice, and they'll probably hide in a few weeks and say it was nothing to do with them, they were only talking about it.

"Seriously in the midst of a pandemic, a crisis, football clubs at national level going bust nearly, furloughing players, clubs on the edge and these lot are having Zoom calls about breaking away and creating more greed. Joke."

According to reports, a statement is expected at 21:30 GMT. It has been reported that Madrid president Florentino Perez will act as the competition's chairman, with Liverpool, United and Arsenal owners John W Henry, Joel Glazer and Stan Kroenke also having major roles.

"They'll be amending that statement as we speak, they'll have seen the reaction," Neville said. "They'll be backtracking down the road because they are bottle merchants these lot. 

"I'd like to think that United and Liverpool would stand and think something's not right here, let's collaborate with the game to try and get a better competition, a better Champions League, I'm not for everything standing still but this is a grab, when the timing is hideous. What world are these people living in?"

Put on the spot at full-time, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to offer any insight, telling Sky Sports: "I saw the news and the speculation. I can't really say too much, my focus has just been on this game, I got the news today as well.

"I haven't looked into [what it would mean for United] so I just need to sit down and see what it is. The club will probably comment on it later."

Mikel Arteta insists he knows nothing about Arsenal being involved in a European Super League.

Widespread reports emerged on Sunday claiming that up to 12 clubs – including the Premier League's 'big six' – were set to announce the new competition.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are said to have been joined by teams from Italy and Spain in backing the plans.

UEFA issued a strong response condemning the apparent proposals, vowing to do everything in its power to block the move, and its statement was co-signed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the English Football Association (FA), the Premier League, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Serie A.

European football's governing body also reiterated a threat it has made before, that it would bar clubs from taking part in other competitions, while it also suggested FIFA still plans to ban players from playing at the World Cup if they feature in such a 'Super League'.

Aside from other footballing authorities, the plans have been met with widespread condemnation, but Arteta was not willing to add to the dissenting voices.

Speaking after ninth-placed Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday, Arteta said: "I don't know anything about it.

"I don't know. Once I know every detail and I have all the information then I can evaluate and give you my opinion."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is rumoured to be heading up the new league, while the owners of Liverpool, United and Arsenal are reported to be filling vice-chairman roles.

It has been suggested an announcement from the clubs in question could come as early as 21:30 BST on Sunday.

The English Football Association warned a European Super League would hurt football "at all levels" and said it was ready to take legal action as a clutch of elite clubs appeared poised to announce their involvement.

Twelve of Europe's biggest clubs are reported to have agreed to take part in the controversial breakaway competition, with six from England's Premier League said to have given it the thumbs-up.

The news emerged a day ahead of UEFA's executive committee meeting, at which plans for future 36-team Champions League competitions were expected to be confirmed by European football's governing body.

UEFA issued a statement on Sunday in conjunction with major domestic bodies such as the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League, and their Italian and Spanish counterparts.

The FA also issued its own firm rejection of the Super League concept, saying any closed-shop competition would go against the sacrosanct, long-standing principles of the game.

Aware of "certain English clubs" joining the project, the FA said: "It is clear that this would be damaging to English and European football at all levels and will attack the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are fundamental to competitive sport.

"For new competitions to be formed involving clubs from different associations, approval would be required from the relevant national associations, confederation and/or FIFA. We would not provide permission to any competition that would be damaging to English football, and will take any legal and/or regulatory action necessary to protect the broader interests of the game.

"We note FIFA confirmed earlier this year that they and the six confederations would not recognise any such competition and, as such, any player or club involved may not be permitted to participate in any official competition which falls within the auspices of FIFA or their respective confederation."

It was reported that confirmation of the new league being launched could come as soon as Sunday evening in Europe.

The FA said it would "continue to work with UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League to seek to ensure that nothing is approved that has the potential to damage English football".

It added that it would also work with the players' and managers' unions - the PFA and LMA - along with the English Football League and Premier League, motivated by the objective "to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game".

The UK Government's culture secretary Oliver Dowden said clubs signing up for any such project would be neglecting their duty to supporters by taking away their say.

"Football supporters are the heartbeat of our national sport and any major decisions made should have their backing," Dowden said.

"With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game. Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that undermines this is deeply troubling and damaging for football.

"We have a football pyramid where funds from the globally successful Premier League flow down the leagues and into local communities. I would be bitterly disappointed to see any action that destroys that."

Plans for a European Super League are set to be announced on Sunday, drawing the ire of Manchester United greats Gary Neville and Roy Keane.

Reports emerged on Sunday claiming that 12 clubs – including the Premier League's "big six" – are to announce the new competition. 

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Inter are the other sides involved, though the proposal will reportedly include an expansion option to 16 or 18 teams.

UEFA responded strongly, insisting it will do everything in its power to block the plans, including banning the 12 clubs from their competitions, while there has also been a suggestion that players may not be allowed to represent their countries on the international stage. The Premier League also condemned the proposals.

While commentating on United's clash with Burnley, Neville made no secret of his opposition to the idea of a Super League, suggesting point deductions were a worthy punishment.

"I'm not against modernisation of football competitions," Neville said on Sky Sports.

"We have the Premier League, the Champions League, I don't think anyone can deny, but I think to bring forward proposals in the midst of COVID, the economic crisis that exists for all clubs is an absolute scandal.

"United and the rest of the big six clubs that have signed up against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.

"I can't concentrate on the game. They should deduct six points from all the teams who have signed up to it. To do it during a season, it's a joke."

It was a sentiment echoed by Neville's former team-mate and fellow Sky Sports pundit Keane, who added: "I think it comes down to money, greed, we've heard nothing from FIFA yet but it doesn't sound good.

"Let's hope its stopped in its tracks, because I think it is just pure greed.

"We're talking about the big clubs. Bayern Munich are one of the biggest clubs in the world. At least they've made a stand, which is a good start."

United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea would need the permission of the Premier League to join any proposed Super League, or would have to break away from England's top flight altogether. 

The Premier League has strongly condemned the proposals for a new European Super League, which it says will "undermine the appeal of the whole game".

Widespread reports emerged on Sunday claiming that 12 clubs – including the Premier League's "big six" – are set to announce the new competition.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are said to have been joined by teams from Italy and Spain in backing the plans.

In response, UEFA vowed to do everything in its power to block the proposal, and urged others to boycott what it described as a "cynical project founded on the self-interest of a few clubs".

One of the sanctions being considered by European football's governing body is to suspend the 12 teams from UEFA's club competitions.

The Premier League subsequently backed up UEFA's statement, confirming its opposition to the proposal.

A statement issued on the competition's official website read: "The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.

"Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.

"The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world. Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.

"A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper.   

"We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game."

This is not the first time this season that plans have been put forward to change the face of the game.

Late last year, the owners of United and Liverpool proposed a reformatting of the English game, dubbed "Project Big Picture" which, among other items, included handing more power to a select few teams in the top flight.

It was instantly dismissed by other Premier League clubs, with accusations that it was a blatant "power grab" in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on football.

United and Liverpool's American owners are reported to have been instrumental in the European Super League proposition.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is reportedly set to be chairman, with John W. Henry (Liverpool), Joel Glazer (United) and Stan Kroenke (Arsenal) acting as vice-chairmen, alongside Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli.

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