Ministers could bring in fresh legislation to wrestle control of football clubs away from billionaire owners and hand it over to fans in response to the new European Super League, i can reveal. 

Boris Johnson told a meeting of football fans groups and English football’s main governing bodies that his government would “drop a legislative bomb” to prevent the proposal going ahead if necessary. 

Whitehall sources told i the measures could include new laws that would hand control of the football clubs over to the fans, possibly based on the German model, which ensures fans hold a 51 per cent stake in their clubs. 

Another tactic under consideration is the introduction of ‘golden shares’, which could give fans’ groups the power of veto over board decisions.

It comes as Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal prepare to pull out of the Super League, with several other clubs also beginning to waver. 

Government insiders said the Prime Minister was still committed to reforms to fan representation in football, which will be looked at under its “root and branch” review of the game led by former sports minister Tracey Crouch. 

A senior source told i that despite news of clubs having second thoughts about the idea, ministers would continue to consider legislating for fans to take control over clubs. 

The Government’s first priority would be to look at what powers it has under existing legislation, but sources said the Prime Minister was prepared to bring in new laws if the issue “gets tied up in courts”. 

The source told i that ministers would also look at tough new competition laws and legislating for fans to take control over clubs. 

“We are looking at options now. In principle, we could introduce legislation around fan representation, so either a golden share model, the German model or something else,” the Government insider said. 

It is is unclear exactly how the legislation would work with the Government stressing that it was still early days and a range of options are being considered.

Golden shares provide certain shareholders with a special right to veto other shareholders in very specific circumstances, such as a change of ownership or takeover or in this case preventing a club from starting a new league.

They were used by the government in the 1980s when they began privatising companies but wanted to maintain control over them, such as British Telecoms. 

The German ‘50+1’ model has been credited as the reason why no Bundesliga clubs – including European giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – have signed up to the Super League.

Fans groups at each of the clubs are now mobilising against the plans, having met with Mr Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Following the meeting Arsenal Supporters Trust tweeted: “Despite our clubs’ behaviour we are unified in opposition & will continue to do all we can collectively to stop these plans. This includes seeking joint representation to Government and all relevant football authorities. We will issue an update in due course.”

The Prime Minister said after his meeting that “no action is off the table and we are exploring every possibility to ensure these proposals are stopped.” 

Speaking at his Downing Street briefing on Tuesday, he criticised the six English clubs – Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham – for trying to establish a “cartel” at the top of the game.

His comments came as fed-up football fans protested in west London to show their fury at the proposed Super League.

Supporters from different clubs put rivalry aside to demonstrate outside Chelsea’s home ground Stamford Bridge ahead of their match against Brighton.

Downing Street said he expressed “solidarity” with the fans’ groups, who were also represented at the meeting earlier on Tuesday, saying they should be at the heart of any decisions about the future of the national game.

“The Prime Minister confirmed the Government will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop,” a No 10 statement said, adding that he was clear “legislative options” are among those being explored.