European Super League: Every Brighton fan NEEDS to hear this former England star's take on controversial breakaway plans

"It's about exploitation of the fans, it's just a question of who can exploit them."

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 6:40 pm
Jamie Carragher and John Barnes. Photo: Getty

Former Liverpool and England star John Barnes gave an impassioned speech on the European Super League this week on Talksport's radio show with Laura Woods and Ally McCoist.

The ex-winger gave his take on what he thinks happened with the European Super League and how fans will continue to be exploited.

Barnes said: "What's been happening is there has been a power struggle between elite clubs who control football to exploit the fans, that is all it was. It's just a question of who is going to exploit them.

"So now that the ESL is not going to exploit them, it will be the same old guard: FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League, the big clubs. How many people can afford the £150 shirts? The Sky Sports subscriptions? It's about exploitation of the fans, it's just a question of who can exploit them.

"The status quo is now exactly the same [as it was before]. This was, in my opinion, a ploy by the big clubs to then try and get more money from UEFA.

"Let's not forget, this started in 1992. An elite group, five clubs, wanted to pull away and they enticed the other 15 to pull away from the football league to the detriment of League One, League Two, grassroots football, and The Championship because they wanted more money for themselves. That's why the Premier League started.

"1992, football sold out."

Former Rangers man McCoist then asked Barnes if fans should keep protesting for more rights and implied that it was the fans who overturned the ESL plans.

Barnes replied: "They didn't do it [change the outcome of the ESL]. Sky did it, UEFA did it, FIFA did it, that's what happened.

"We're trying to convince the fans they're the ones who done it. Do you think all of a sudden tickets prices are going to come down? Or the shirt prices are going to come down? That's not going to happen.

"We have convinced the masses, the working class people, that this is for them. It's not. It's for businessmen. It's for an elite group to keep exploiting people. This is all it is. Football won't change. Nothing will change.

"Do you think FIFA could ban international players who play in this competition? Messi, Neymar, Kane, Ronaldo, all of these top players, do you think sponsors would be interested in that? Do you think the Premier League could ban the top six teams? Do you think the sponsors, who put all this money into football, are going to say 'we're going to keep putting the money in'.

"This is the elite society we actually live in. More importantly, when we talk about multi billionaire businessmen coming to football have to understand football, it's the other way around, football has to understand the nature of multi-billion business.

"And if we're going to accept these billionaires coming in, we're not going to rule them, they're the ones that are going to rule us. We can't have it both ways. We can't want them to come in, spend their money but do what we want them to do."

Barnes called for the introduction of salary caps and better governance.

He added: "One man's corruption is another man's business. If you look at how business which is done behind closed doors, this is how the country's run. This is what happens in the elite capitalists society we live in.

"I wont' be fooled by the fact that we think this is a fan revolution until prices go down, fans have a say, fans can be in the boardroom, fans can do whatever they want to do, that is where the revolution is really won. But that hasn't happened in a thousand years and it hasn't happened today."

The full interview is attached within this story.