European Super League plan is a dagger through the hearts of grassroots football

The creation of an European Super League (ESL) will be antithesis to everything the highly respected Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre (STFSC) stands for.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:45 pm

That is the view of the organisation's co-founder Kath Mason, who is the secretary and lead welfare officer of the registered charity which she and her husband Peter set up in 1999.

Providing football provision and opportunities for all, the STFSC is a grassroots organisation right in the heart of the community in Preston.

Its motto is “Football For All, Any Age, Any Ability".

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Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre co-founders Kath Mason (far left) and Peter Mason (far right) with young footballers and coaches

The message on it’s own website states: “Put Simply - we are a large registered charity providing high quality FA charter standard football coaching for able bodied and disabled children and adults".

News that 12 of the richest and so-called biggest clubs in Europe planned to tear up the history and tradition of the game and create a new breakaway league was, she said, a direct contrast to the inclusive, aspirational ethos which the STFSC promotes.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have signed up to create the league alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid, of Spain, and Italian outfits AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.

The league would be somewhat of a closed shop, with none of the 12 founding clubs being at risk of losing their place in it, thus threatening football's long-established pyramid system.

Football for the fans

“My personal opinion is that I am totally against it,” said Mason.

“It’s a sad day for the game, but money talks doesn’t it?

“The STFSC is not just about inclusion, it’s about a pathway too.

“We have an ethos of football for all - we have grassroots football.

“But we also have children who want to play in local teams and aspire to then play for an academy, then play for a club.

“Our organisation is about aspiration and having children dreaming of playing for a club and then their countries.

“This (ESL) just goes against the whole ethos of what football is all about.”

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