Taskmaster: David Baddiel and Ed Gamble return
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Appearing on BBC Newsnight, the comedian and Chelsea fan was asked by host Emily Maitlis about his thoughts on the ESL. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea all revoked plans to join a breakaway competition yesterday after furious backlash from fans and football organisations.
Noting the positive reaction to Chelsea being the first to announce they would not be join the ESL, Mr Baddiel said he’s “pleased as a football fan” the proposal seems dead on arrival.
He told Ms Mailtis: “Basically I’m pleased as a football fan, because it was literally the worst idea possibly in the history of anything, but certainly in the history of football.
“It was just such an incredibly… it’s a childish idea at some level, when you’re six, you say to your dad ‘Why can’t Man United play Barcelona every week?’
“And then you realise, you grow a bit older and then you realise that football like every sport has to have some yin and yang.
“You have to have Chelsea playing Brighton like they did tonight, being held nil-nil, because if every game is a massive game then no game is a massive game.”
When asked if he thought the six English clubs backing away from the league is “the end of it”, Mr Baddiel added: “It will be quite a small league if it’s just the three Italian clubs and the three Spanish clubs.
“Those German clubs aren’t going to join because of the system they have going on up there, and the French clubs aren’t going to join.
“It was so entitled, the whole thing, and I think what it also was it was about brand.
“Football clubs like Real Madrid and whatever and Man United as brands that would appeal, in their own minds, to people in China and Korea, I don’t know what they thought, who they feel are sort of new fans who perhaps don’t have this sense of the history of the club and don’t care.”
All six Premier League sides issued statements confirming they had rescinded plans to join the ESL, which would see 15 European clubs as ‘founding members’ unable to be relegated from the competition.
In a statement posted on the clubs website, Chelsea said: “As reported earlier this evening, Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community.”
Chelsea fans took to protesting against the league outside of Stamford Bridge ahead of the Blues game against Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also voiced his disapproval of the ESL in his coronavirus press briefing, and said: “How can it be right to have a situation in which you create a kind of cartel that stops clubs competing against each other, playing against each other properly with all the hope and excitement that gives to fans up and down the country?
“I think it offends against the basic principles of competition and if necessary in order to protect that principle of competition we will seek, as I said to those bodies earlier on, a legislative solution but we hope they can find a way forwards themselves.”
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