Lincoln City Football Club have opposed plans for a new European Super League in the sport, suggesting the teams involved are attempting to “destroy the game”.
The European Super League is a proposed continental competition where a select group of clubs, including the Premier League’s ‘big six’ (Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United), would compete in a midweek competition.
The ESL would contain the same 15 founding teams each year, who cannot be relegated from this league, as well as five other qualifiers annually.
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have already signed up for the ESL, with Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig of Germany expected to join too.
The founding clubs will be given a share of £3 billion for taking part in the league, further widening the financial gap between top teams and lower divisions.
The Football Association, along with continental and international governing bodies UEFA and FIFA, have said that any team or player who agrees to take part will be banned from domestic leagues as well as representing their country in future competitions.
Calls for the league have been criticised across the country, with many suggesting it is merely an exclusive league for the elite to profit from, and Lincoln City have joined the opposition.
A spokesperson for the club said: “Our reaction to the announcement of the formation of a European Super League is one of deep sadness and dismay.
“For it to take place at a time when so many clubs and grass roots football are battling with the consequences of COVID-19 is reprehensible.
“We are vehemently against the concentration of power and ever-increasing wealth in the hands of just a few clubs who at a point in time believe they have the right to entrench that power and wealth forever.”
The Imps have also said that this move would set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the football pyramid.
The club added: “It will destroy the principles upon which the game has been played in England for more than a century and will have severe consequences on the football pyramid and beyond.
“We must not be fooled by empty promises of this wealth trickling down the pyramid. The falsehood of those promises was laid bare upon proper analysis of the figures contained in Project Big Picture.
“The time has come to put an end to this disgraceful money and power grab. To compromise yet again with these so-called big clubs will only delay the inevitable.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also slammed the ESL plans, saying he would “look at everything that we can do with the football authorities to make sure that this doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed.”
Grimsby Town have also joined in the discussion, hosting an amnesty for charity, where fans of the aforementioned ‘big six’ can trade in their football shirts for Grimsby Town ones, with the other shirts going to humanitarian groups in Africa.