football

Football authorities working to ensure Super League will never happen, says FA chief executive


Football will take legislative steps to ensure a Super League “can never happen again”, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has said.

The announcement of the competition last Sunday threatened to split football, and caused one of the greatest crises in the game’s history, but one unintended consequence is that it may leave the pyramid in a more secure place.

Bullingham said it is the “primary focus” of the Football Association and the rest of the football authorities to prevent the situation arising again. They have government backing to bring in legislation to preclude the competition ever taking place, negating the possibility of clubs returning to the idea in future.

“Our primary focus now is working to ensure that this can never happen again,” Bullingham said. “We are exploring all options to prevent that, including legislation and changes to our rulebook, and nothing is off the table.”

The great irony of the situation is that, in attempting to play their biggest hand, the super clubs have likely neutered their power.

Meanwhile Bullingham expressed hope Wembley can be at its full 90,000 capacity for the Euro 2020 final, but accepts 45,000 might be a more realistic target.

The national stadium was awarded an extra match on Friday when Uefa handed it Dublin’s last-16 tie, after stripping the Irish capital of all four matches it was due to host. The authorities in Ireland could not provide Uefa with minimum capacity guarantees amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision means if England win their group they will play their first four matches of the tournament at home, before travelling to Rome for the quarter-finals. The FA has guaranteed a minimum of 25 per cent capacity for England’s group games at Wembley but is confident of going significantly higher for the knockout stages.

“We have got until 2 June to tell Uefa what our numbers can be for the round of 16, semi-finals and final,” Bullingham said. “Our hope is that we will be 50 per cent full for those games, but clearly that’s not our decision, that’s for the authorities to make.

“From our perspective we think 50 per cent might be more realistic at the moment, but if the situation improves I would love the final to be full. We want as many fans as possible to be able to experience the Euros.”

Additional reporting by PA



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