Victory for fans as all six English teams pull out of European Super League

All English clubs have now pulled out of the European Super League.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed they will follow Chelsea and Manchester City in withdrawing from the planned tournament.

United said: “We will not be participating in the European Super League”.

Chelsea, faced with an angry protest from their fans, was first in saying it was preparing documents to formally withdraw, with club owner Roman Abramovich understood to have driven the decision, having listened to fan protests and opted to back out.

Petr Cech standing in front of a crowd: Former Chelsea player and coach Petr Cech appeals for calm© PA Former Chelsea player and coach Petr Cech appeals for calm

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said he regretted the “anxiety and upset” caused as he confirmed the club had “formally commenced procedures to withdraw from the group developing proposals for a European Super League (ESL).”

Liverpool said: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.

a group of people holding a sign: Chelsea fans protest outside Stamford Bridge against the European Super League plans. Pic: AP© Associated Press Chelsea fans protest outside Stamford Bridge against the European Super League plans. Pic: AP

“In recent days, the club has received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and we would like to thank them for their valuable contributions.”

Meanwhile Arsenal admitted to making “a mistake” and apologised after confirming their withdrawal from the proposed Super League.

An open letter from the club’s board said: “The last few days have shown us yet again the depth of feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love.

“We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought.”

Roman Abramovich talking on a cell phone: Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich. File pic: AP© Associated Press Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich. File pic: AP

Man City said in a statement that it had “enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League”.

City player Raheem Sterling reacted to the news by tweeting the words: “Ok bye”.

Manager Pep Guardiola had previously criticised the plans for the “closed shop” league, as fans from other clubs gathered outside stadiums up and down the country.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he was “delighted to welcome City back to the European football family”.

“They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices – most notably their fans – that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football; from the world-beating Champions League final right down to a young player’s first coaching session at a grassroots club,” he wrote.

And the FA said: “English football has a proud history based on opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league. It was a proposition that, by design, could have divided our game; but instead, it has unified us all.”

The move leaves Spanish and Italian clubs in the breakaway competition, which sparked a huge backlash since plans were announced on Sunday.

Fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge to protest on Tuesday, with police forced to close roads and make a number of arrests, and match officials delaying the kickoff of Chelsea’s game against Brighton by 15 minutes.

Reserve goalkeeper and coach Petr Cech was seen outside the ground, among the protesters, appealing for calm.

Supporters clutched placards that read “RIP football” and “No to Super League” ahead of Tuesday night’s match and cheered as news of their club’s decision broke.

Liverpool Captain Jordan Henderson tweeted late on Tuesday that “we don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen”.

The team’s time sponsor Tribus said they were leaving them as they “cannot support the move by the club’s owners”.

At a Downing Street news briefing earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK government would do all it could to prevent the Super League going ahead.

He applauded the news as it broke, tweeting: “The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely the right one and I commend them for it. I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: “Good news that Chelsea and City have seen sense, and I urge the rest to follow swiftly.

“The whole ESL move shows how out-of-touch these owners are. They have completely misjudged the strength of feeling from fans, players and the whole country. Football is for the fans.”

The Premier League said that it is “considering all actions to prevent the plans from progressing”, while FIFA President Gianni Infantino warned that clubs would have to “live with the consequences” of their decisions.

After threats to refuse to grant players’ visas and withdraw matchday funding, a Spanish court ruled that FIFA and UEFA should sanction players or teams involved before the Super League had been dealt with properly.

The commercial court in Madrid’s ruling is preliminary, however, and it is not clear if it has jurisdiction abroad.

The European Super League said late on Tuesday that it remained convinced that European football “needs to change”.

“Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure put on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations as was demonstrated today by a court decision to protect the Super League from third party actions.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

Real Madrid chairman Florentino Pérez, who is also the chairman of the new league, has also defended the concept, claiming it will “save football”.

But his predecessor Ramon Calderon told Sky News it would “kill football” and warned that “successful or not, the harm has already been done” among fans.

He said: “It’s a stab in the back of football. Many clubs will disappear, with academies and grassroots.

“I think it’s very sad, disgraceful.”

Eyewitness: ‘We’ve just made history’ – Chelsea fans welcome move to pull out

By Enda Brady, news correspondent

“We’ve just made history, we’ve just made history.”

The news spread around Stamford Bridge like wildfire, Chelsea had just become the first club to formally withdraw from the proposed European Super League before a ball had even been kicked.

Hundreds of fans had gathered outside the stadium before the club’s Premier League match against Brighton to voice their anger at the project.

One banner, aimed at owner Roman Abramovich read: “18 years, 16 trophies. What legacy?”

Chelsea’s former goalkeeper Petr Cech, now a coach at the club, waded into the crowd urging them to keep calm. He obviously knew that a bombshell announcement was imminent.

And as fans watched the news break on their mobile phones, up went a chant. “We’ve got our Chelsea back, we’ve got our Chelsea back.”

One fan held a placard that read simply: “We want our cold nights in Stoke.”


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