Alan Sugar has criticised the billionaire owners of the Premier League’s biggest clubs for being “weak” in the fallout over the European Super League. Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City all pulled out of the controversial breakaway league 48 hours after it was announced last month.
The U-turns performed by the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ were widely seen as a victory for fans, who immediately made their thoughts in a series of protests.
But although the Super League plans, which were pushed by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli, appear to be dead in the water, supporters are continuing to pressure their clubs.
Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool and, in particular, Manchester United fans have held protests against their owners, with groups demanding a dialogue with their owners.
The Glazer family has come under fire from United fans, with a protest against their ownership forcing their Premier League game against Liverpool to be postponed on Sunday.
Sugar, who sold his majority stake in Spurs to investment company ENIC in 2001 after 10 years with the club, believes the current crop of owners are not helping themselves.
“I wouldn’t be hung out to dry by any manager that’s for sure,” he told the Telegraph.
“I think they’re a bit weak, and I think they get all this flak, and I would talk up a bit more, I really would.”
Although Sugar is not a fan of the Super League proposals, he does believe that the current system in elite football is broken.
“It is the same now, that’s why the Super League was so pointless,” he said.
“Any more money you give them just goes straight through on transfer fees, and players wages. The fans get no benefit whatsoever, other than seeing superstars being paid too much to perform. So what needs to happen really is a rethink of the industry. You don’t need any more money.”
One of the things pressure groups, journalists and supporters have advocated for amid the Super League fallout is the implementation of the ‘50+1’ model, which is used in Germany.
The rule means that clubs are run more democratically and fans always hold the majority of the voting rights, with teams unable to play in the Bundesliga if commercial investors own more than a 49 per cent stake.
However, Sugar described the 50+1 model as “an absolute nonsense,” arguing it would not work in the hyper-commercialised environment of the Premier League in the era of billionaire owners.
“That’s a non-starter in the UK,” he said.
“I don’t think that will ever happen in the UK because they can’t gift 51 per cent of an entity that’s worth billions.
“I’m afraid to say that’s not going to happen in the UK, certainly with the owners that we have here.”