The damage runs deep: What next for the Big 6 after collapse of European Super League?

Liverpool and Manchester United's owners have responded to the furore over the proposed Super League, ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott reports

And now the blood-letting.

After the spectacular collapse of the ill-fated, self-serving cash trough that was the European Super League, what next for England’s elite football clubs? The damage runs deep.

Fans who played no small part in the Super League’s downfall maybe have a spring in their step today but, when the euphoria settles, the lasting emotion will be a sense of betrayal.

Whatever they say now, the Big Six owners have made it very clear what importance they attach to those, who in normal times, fill their stadia. They come a long way down a list of priorities that is headed by TV contracts and sponsorship deals.

And what of the Premier League, whose strength has always been its unity? That unity is shattered and the repair work will take some time.

  • Liverpool owner John W Henry offers an apology to fans

First the six wannabe breakaway clubs will have to pay for their sins; it is just not possible for the rest to shrug their shoulders and go back to how it was before. If they get away with it then that’s frankly an invite to another mutiny sometime in the future.

So what will their punishment look like?

Some of the 14 Premier League clubs who were not part of the closed shop want points deductions for the shame-faced six. There would be some delicious irony if that prevented a few of them playing in Europe next season but it’s recognised that that path only really hurts the coaches, players and fans who are not the villains here.

The targets of their real anger are the owners and the executives who do their bidding. How to hurt them? The division this has caused within the Premier League will take time to repair, a long time, and of course it will never be forgotten

The rehabilitation is helped by the fact that Manchester United’s executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward has quit.

Manchester United executive Ed Woodward has stepped down. Credit: PA

Rightly or wrongly he is seen as a key architect in European Project Greed but he has always been a divisive figure within the Premier League set-up and his absence will help the troublesome healing process.

What will and should concern the top tier most is the impact this debacle will have on regulatory reform. The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has launched a fan-led review of football, led by the highly respected former sports minister Tracey Crouch. Dowden is known to admire the German football model where fans have greater representation and influence and it’s not without question that something similar could well be enforced here. It is also likely the government will explore ways to prevent the kind of disruption caused by the threatened breakaway in the future and if successful that means the Big Six’s soft power is diminished. Whatever the outcome it is very likely a degree of regulation that doesn’t exist today will be introduced; something that is anathema to the Premier League who think they’re perfectly capable of running things themselves.