Soccer-United's Ferguson says breakaway league would end 70 years of history

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says a breakaway European Super League would be a move away from 70 years of football history and that fans love the Champions League as it is.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Southampton - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 13, 2020 Sir Alex Ferguson wearing a protective face mask before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

Media reports on Sunday said that six Premier League clubs, including United, had signed up to plans for a breakaway league which would be a rival to UEFA’s Champions League.

Ferguson, who won the Champions League twice with Manchester United after having European success with Scottish club Aberdeen, told Reuters that he enjoyed “special nights” in the Champions League.

“Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football. Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest,” he told Reuters.

“Everton are spending £500 million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League. Fans all over love the competition as it is,” he said.

“In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.

“I’m not sure Manchester United are involved in this, as I am not part of the decision making process,” he added.

Gary Neville, Ferguson’s former captain, interrupted his commentary on Sky Sports’ coverage of United’s match against Burnley to criticise the breakaway plans.

“I think to bring forward proposals in the midst of COVID, in the midst of the economic crisis, is an absolute scandal,” he said.

“United, and the rest of the ‘Big Six’ clubs that have signed up to it, against the rest of the Premier League, should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.

“I can’t concentrate on the game... they should deduct all six teams that have signed up to it. Deduct points from them all,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar