Everton have accused the six Premier League clubs who have signed up to the European Super League of "betraying" football supporters. (More Football News)
Plans for a breakaway league were announced on Sunday, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham among the 12 teams confirmed to have signed up.
The news was met with a wave of criticism from across the spectrum, including fans, governing bodies, players, ex-professionals and other clubs.
And on Tuesday the Toffees made clear their feelings on the matter in a scathing statement which attacked the involvement of their fellow English top-flight outfits.
"Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs," read a statement from the club's board of directors.
"Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests.
"Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game.
"Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table.
"Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond."
The Merseyside club were particularly critical of the timing of the move, coming amid a global pandemic which has threatened the very existence of some clubs.
"At this time of national and international crisis – and a defining period for our game – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost," the statement continued.
"Instead, these clubs have been secretly conspiring to break away from a football pyramid that has served them so well.
"And in that Pyramid Everton salutes EVERY club, be it Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, Gillingham, Lincoln City, Morecambe, Southend United, Notts County and the rest who have, with their very being, enriched the lives of their supporters throughout the game's history. And vice versa.
"The self-proclaimed Super Six appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game – including their own – by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat."
Since the plans were made public, the dissenting voices have come from every corner, with UEFA threatening sanctions, fans protesting and even players and managers speaking out against them.
It is a reaction that Everton say must be taken on board by those leading the charge for a European Super League.
"The backlash is understandable and deserved – and has to be listened to," the club's board said.
"This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.
"On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practises that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.
"Finally we would ask the owners, chairmen, and Board members of the six clubs to remember the privileged position they hold – not only as custodians of their clubs but also custodians of the game. The responsibility they carry should be taken seriously.
"We urge them all to consider what they wish their legacy to be."
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