The Premier League’s “Other 14” clubs have reacted furiously to the threat of a European Super League and have begun to brainstorm ideas that could derail it, including possible sanctions against the breakaway six.
There was surprise at the Premier League’s decision not to convene an emergency meeting of all 20 clubs on Monday to discuss the will of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham to become founding members of the new competition, which stands to gravely affect the top division of English football.
But there is the feeling among the 14 remainers that there are measures open to them as a collective which would make it difficult for the six to achieve their aim of joining the Super League while remaining a part of the Premier League. They will meet the Premier League on Tuesday for discussions.
The 14 want to know whether the Premier League can expel the rebels but also whether they could frustrate them by refusing to play against them. Could the 14 vote in a rule that fixes a points deduction for every time a club plays in an unsanctioned tournament?
The “Big Six” have repeatedly explored ways to exert greater influence in the Premier League, to enjoy larger slices of revenues which they feel their status merits only to be frustrated by the rule which states 14 votes are needed in order to drive major changes.
This led, most recently, to Project Big Picture being blocked and the clubs agreeing to a strategic, collaborative review, in which they might make certain concessions towards one another. Among the things to irk the 14 is that while these meetings have been going on, the six were clearly working on a plan that would render everything under discussion irrelevant.
The six’s nuclear option has always been to threaten to leave the Premier League and they have said it with sufficient frequency as for it to ring hollow. Could this yet be the latest and most aggressive attempt to force the Premier League to bow to their demands over voting structures, with the biggest clubs getting the loudest say rather one vote per club? The 14 remain wary of being drawn into negotiations with the six that could dilute their rights as they stand.