In a meeting with football authorities and fans’ representatives, Boris Johnson has promised that the government “will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop”.
The prime minister and culture secretary Oliver Dowden met with representatives from the Football Association, the Premier League and football fan groups a day after declaring that the government will do “whatever it takes” to prevent the breakaway tournament, which would see six English teams join three each from Italy and Spain in an lucrative contest from which the elite clubs could not be relegated.
Mr Johnson expressed “solidarity” with football fans who have voiced near-unanimous outrage at the plan and agreed that they “must always be at the heart of any decisions about the future of the game”, said Downing Street.
And he told them that “no action is off the table” – including new legislation – in the drive to block the proposals, which have been signed up to by Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and are backed by billions of dollars from US finance giant JP Morgan.
“He reiterated his unwavering support for the football authorities and confirmed they have the government’s full backing to take whatever action necessary to put a stop to these plans,” a No 10 spokesperson said.
“All attendees agreed that action was necessary to protect the fairness and open competition we expect to see in football, and to uphold the fundamental principle that any club should have the chance to play and win against the biggest players in the game.
“The prime minister confirmed the government will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop.
“He was clear that no action is off the table and the government is exploring every possibility, including legislative options, to ensure these proposals are stopped.”