‘Big Six’ clubs could face Premier League sanctions over failed breakaway

English football’s ‘Big Six’ clubs could still face Premier League sanctions despite backing out of the breakaway Super League.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber called for “appropriate action” to be taken against the clubs involved on Wednesday morning, even though by then each had indicated their intention to withdraw. It is understood the league’s position has not altered since it issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, when all six were still signatories to the Super League.

At the time, it said: “The Premier League is considering all actions available to prevent it from progressing, as well as holding those (clubs) involved to account under its rules.”

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Section L9 of the league’s handbook states member clubs shall not enter or play in extra competitions without the prior written approval of the league’s board.

A banner is seen outside Liverpool's Anfield Stadium after the collapse of English involvement in the proposed European Super League. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

In a separate development, however, it is understood that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is contacting those ‘Big Six’ club officials who sit on the competition’s various committees to ask them to leave them.

These include Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who is on the league’s audit and remuneration committee, as well as executives at four other clubs. Ed Woodward (Manchester United) and Tom Werner (Liverpool) are on the Club Broadcast Advisory Group while Vinai Venkatesham (Arsenal) and Ferran Soriano (Manchester City) are on the Club Strategic Advisory Group.

The Premier League has not commented on this but resolve was clear after a meeting of its other 14 clubs which “unanimously and vigorously rejected” Super League proposals. By Wednesday morning, the six rebel clubs had pulled out following a huge backlash from supporters, governing bodies, other clubs and government, as well as their own players and managers.

Their withdrawals were marked in some cases by apologies – and in the case of United their executive vice-chairman Woodward announced he would leave the club.

On Sunday night the six Premier League clubs plus three each from Italy and Spain announced they had signed up to be ‘founder members’ of the competition.

By Wednesday afternoon only Spanish duo Real Madrid and Barcelona remained. Fellow LaLiga side Atletico Madrid were the first of the sides outside England to pull out, followed by Inter Milan and then AC Milan.

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