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grovelling apologies Owners of Liverpool and Manchester United set for big sanctions after football's civil war


Liverpool owner John W. Henry (left) and chairman Tom Werner could face sanctions. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Liverpool owner John W. Henry (left) and chairman Tom Werner could face sanctions. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Liverpool owner John W. Henry (left) and chairman Tom Werner could face sanctions. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Joel Glazer and John W Henry were forced into grovelling apologies last night, as the European Super League plotters faced being hit with a triple whammy of punishments for causing the game’s worst civil war.

The disgraced American owners of Manchester United and Liverpool became the first ringleaders of the “dirty dozen” clubs behind the reviled tournament to say sorry to their fans after pulling out of it just 48 hours after its launch.

The billionaire leaders of the Premier League’s “Big Six” teams are facing action over arguably the biggest fiasco in football history, one that brought calls for some of them to leave their clubs altogether.

As the blame game began, it emerged that possible sanctions could include:

  • Heavy fines being imposed on those involved for bringing themselves and the Premier League into disrepute.
  • Ed Woodward, Tom Werner, Bruce Buck, Ferran Soriano and Vinai Venkatesham possibly having to quit their roles on the league’s working groups or face being forcibly removed.
  • The plotters being stripped of their right to enter the revamped Champions League through the back door.

Glazer and Henry, two of the ESL’s four vice-chairmen, began the process of trying to make amends via statements on their respective clubs’ websites.

Glazer wrote: “We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.

“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry."

Henry recorded a video message in which he apologised to manager Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s players.

He said: “I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days.

“It’s something I won’t forget. And shows the power the fans have today and will rightly continue to have,” said Henry.

Their contrition failed to appease all their supporters, with Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly saying: “These crocodile tears will not wash.”

Manchester City chief executive Soriano, in a letter to supporters, wrote: “The board deeply regrets taking a decision that lost sight of the historic values of the club. We made a mistake and we sincerely apologise to our fans.”

The Glazers, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, and Tottenham’s owner ENIC and chairman Daniel Levy faced calls to walk away, with the latter club’s fans protesting outside their stadium ahead of their game against Southampton last night.

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The owners and their teams could also face disrepute charges from the Premier League, according to leading sports lawyer Dan Chapman, who said: “If they wanted to charge the six clubs and impose a sanction then the route is certainly there.”

David Bernstein, the former chairman of the FA, said: “If rules have been broken then there should be some punishment. It should be on the owners.”

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