Premier League to force owners – including Newcastle United's Mike Ashley – to sign new charter to protect English game and prevent another ESL breakaway

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, along with the 20 other custodians of Premier League sides, will be asked to sign a new Owners’ Charter to prevent ESL-type breakaway from happening again.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:04 am
Members of the media are reflected in the glass at the headquarters of the English Premier League in London on March 13, 2020.

Last month, six top-flight teams – Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City – announced they were joining the newly-formed European Super League, only for it to collapse amid intense pressure within 48 hours.

And in response, according to PA, a new set of measures have been put in place by the Premier League today, including additional rules and regulations and an Owners’ Charter that all club owners will be required to sign up to – committing them to the core principles of the competition.

“The actions of a few clubs cannot be allowed to create such division and disruption,” a Premier League statement read.

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“We are determined to establish the truth of what happened and hold those clubs accountable for their decisions and actions. We and The FA are pursuing these objectives quickly and appropriately, consulting with fans and Government.”

The Premier League insisted events during the last two weeks had “challenged the foundations and resolve of English football”.

Fan protests in the days that followed the ESL announcement, on top of widespread criticism from the footballing world, resulted in most of the 12 European clubs – including all six Premier League sides – involved in the proposed breakaway pulling out.

A statement continued: “The Premier League, supported by The FA, is taking the following actions to protect our game, our clubs and their fans from further disruption and uncertainty.

“Additional rules and regulation to ensure the principles of the Premier League and open competition are protected, a new Owners’ Charter that all club owners will be required to sign up to, committing them to the core principles of the Premier League, (while) breaches of these rules and the Charter will be subject to significant sanctions.

“And we are enlisting the support of Government to bring in appropriate legislation to protect football’s open pyramid, principles of sporting merit and the integrity of the football community.”

The Football Association revealed an official inquiry into the formation of the ESL and the involvement of the six English clubs got under way last week.

It also reiterated its desire to ensure any return threat of a breakaway division was thwarted.

A spokesperson for the governing body said: “Since we became aware of the European Super League our priority and focus has been on preventing it from happening, both now and in the future.

“Throughout this period, we have been in ongoing discussions with the Government, the Premier League and UEFA.

“In particular, we have been discussing legislation with Government that would allow us to prevent any similar threat in the future so that we can protect the English football pyramid.

“Last week, we started an official inquiry into the formation of the European Super League and the involvement of the six English clubs.

“We wrote to all of the clubs to formally request all relevant information and evidence regarding their participation. Once we have the required information, we will consider what appropriate steps to take.”