Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the government is “exploring every possibility, including legislative options”, to stop the proposed European Super League.
Speaking after talks with officials from football’s governing bodies, Johnson said “no action is off the table”, in seeking to block the formation of the league.
Fans’ representatives also joined the call with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, which came as the backlash against the proposed European Super League continues.
Six Premier League clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) plus three each from Spain and Italy, are planning to start a 20-team midweek league, from which none of them could be relegated.
Following Tuesday’s talks, a Number 10 statement said: “The prime minister confirmed the government will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop.
“He was clear that no action is off the table and the government is exploring every possibility, including legislative options, to ensure these proposals are stopped.”
Downing Street has not ruled out stopping players from clubs involved in the breakaway European Super League from getting work visas – or withdrawing police funding for match days.
Downing Street also said Mr Johnson expressed “solidarity” with the supporters, saying they should be at the heart of any decisions about the future of the national game.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think we’re fairly unequivocal that we don’t want this to go ahead in the current form, so we would welcome any club that wants to step back from this approach but I think, as far as I’m aware, that’s speculation at this stage.”
Downing Street also did not rule out speaking to ministers in Spain and Italy to co-ordinate efforts to prevent the league going ahead as planned.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are keen to speak to everyone involved in this, from other countries to the Premier League and others.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told Sky News earlier that the league had been “dreamed up by money men” and “must be stopped”.
He said the government could implement legislation and sanctions to stop it going ahead but would first be encouraging the six clubs to “step back” from the proposals put forward.
Labour’s shadow culture, media and sport secretary Jo Stevens said the proposal is “a real watershed moment for football” and that Labour will support the government in attempting to stop it from going ahead.
The party has written to the Competition and Markets Authority, querying whether the new league raises competition issues.
In response, the CMA has said it will be “carefully considering” the European Super League proposals.