(Reuters) - Leeds United Chief Executive Angus Kinnear said the six Premier League clubs involved in the failed breakaway European Super League were "playground bullies" and that they had betrayed "every true football supporter".
The Super League project involving 12 of Europe's major clubs -- including Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur -- collapsed within three days of its announcement amid a fierce backlash from fans, governing bodies and politicians.
"The timing of the plan combined with the turmoil of a global pandemic was not coincidental it was deeply cynical," Kinnear said in Leeds' matchday programme ahead of Sunday's 0-0 Premier League draw with Manchester United.
"Whether collective intent was a genuine move to breakaway or the act of playground bullies seeking negotiating leverage by threatening to take their ball home is irrelevant. The result was a betrayal of every true football supporter."
He was also sceptical that this was the end of the story
"It would be naive to believe the threat has been extinguished forever," he added.
Kinnear also said it was a "disgrace" that managers and players were left to answer questions about the ESL while "owners cowered at home".
"The 14 'other' clubs want and need their teams and fans in our league but these teams and supporters deserve custodians who share the belief in the football pyramid and abhorrence of the prospect of pulling up the drawbridge to create a sporting cartel.
"This week's battle against elitism may have been won but the war needs to be relentlessly and vigorously fought."
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)