Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur – all the 6 Premier League clubs that signed up for the European Super League said on Tuesday that they are withdrawing from the proposed breakaway league. The decision from the clubs came within 48 hours of their announcement to form the league, thereby breaking away from the Champions League.
The abrupt withdrawal comes after fans protested the proposal for the Super League. Quite a few fans had gathered outside stadiums in England to stage protests against the club owners’ decisions.
The Premier League had threatened the six clubs with expulsion if they tried to go it alone in Europe. The other 14 clubs met Tuesday and “unanimously and vigorously” rejected the Super League plans.
In fact, the likes of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expressed their unhappiness over the proposed league. There were voices of opposition even from the current players, including Jordan Henderson and Kevin de Bruyne, while former stars came down heavily on the idea.
The Super League expected to include at least 12 of the top teams in Europe. Besides the six teams from England, the league announced it would include Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain as well as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus from Italy.
Manchester City became the first to announce that they “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group,” and the other English teams followed suit.
Arsenal apologized to its fans in a statement, saying, “We made a mistake and we apologize for it. … It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.”
Chelsea, which is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, said they only joined the Super League group last week. The statement came hours after protests outside Stamford Bridge delayed their game against Brighton.
“We have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the club, our supporters or the wider football community,” Chelsea said in a statement.
ESL to reconsider its next steps
The new league issued a statement Monday night saying it would reconsider its next steps in light of the reaction, and as other major clubs in Europe — including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain — indicated they would not be joining.
“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” the statement began. “We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work. Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.”
‘Delighted to welcome them back to the UEFA family’
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin issued a statement after the sudden reversal by the English teams.
“I am delighted to welcome (them) back to the European football family,” Ceferin said Tuesday, just hours after issuing warnings that players participating in the startup league could be banned from future World Cups and European Championships. “They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices — most notably their fans.”