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It is a stunning turnaround for English Premier League clubs after it was announced on Sunday that they are among the top 12 European football teams seeking to break away from the UEFA Champions League.
Man City were the first of the clubs to make a brief statement: Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has officially begun the process of leaving the squad, which is developing plans for the European Super League.
In a statement, Arsenal apologized to its supporters: It was never our intention to cause so much inconvenience, but when the invitation came to take part in Super League, and we knew there were no guarantees, we didn’t want to sit back and make sure Arsenal and their future were protected.
Liverpool said their involvement in the two-day project was over, while Manchester United said they were pulling out of the deal. In a statement, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said: We regret the turmoil and frustration that the ESL proposal has caused.
Chelsea, the first team to make the decision, announced his departure on Tuesday.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Super League said: We are studying the appropriate measures to rebuild the project despite the departure of the English teams.
Despite the announced withdrawal of English clubs under pressure to make such decisions, we are confident that our proposal is fully compliant with European laws and regulations, as evidenced by today’s court ruling, which protects the Super League from third party complaints, it said.
After Manchester City announced their withdrawal, UEFA president Alexander Seferin said: I am very happy to welcome [Manchester City] into the European football family. They were very smart to listen to the many voices – especially those of their fans.
It takes courage to admit a mistake, but I never doubted that they had the ability and common sense to make that decision. City are a real asset to the game and I look forward to working with them for the best future of the European game.
Craig Burley pays tribute to the role of football fans around the world in putting pressure on clubs to withdraw from Super League.
The 12 clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – insisted that the ESL should provide more financial support for the football pyramid by making solidarity payments of €10 billion to non-participating clubs over an initial period of 23 years.
Super League organisers, led by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, hope to add three more founding members as soon as possible before the league begins.
Perez, who was scheduled to appear Tuesday night on the Spanish radio program El Larguero on Cadena SER, waived the interview to attend meetings related to the league project, according to the program’s host, Manu Carreno.
Prior to Tuesday’s scoreless draw with Brighton, a group of Chelsea players contacted chairman Bruce Buck to tell him they were against the proposed league, a source told ESPN’s James Olley.
Several hundred fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge hours before kick-off to voice their opposition to the club’s plans to join the new competition.
Technical and executive director Petr Cech was seen on camera pleading with fans to let the team bus into the stadium as fans blocked the stadium entrance.
The news that the Blues were gathering papers to backtrack on their decision to join the club led to cheers and chants We Saved Football from fans who had huddled 300 yards from the stadium’s main entrance.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said his team had been distracted by the outcry over the exit plan.
I was touched, and I think the players were too. We only talk about the Super League before the game, Tuchel said after the Brighton game. No one had asked about the game before. Here’s how. You must endure the distraction.
Earlier in the day, 14 other Premier League clubs met to discuss the crisis with the Football Association.
The Premier League issued a statement on Tuesday strongly and unanimously rejecting the plans and considering taking action to hold the six clubs to account.
In Spain, Barcelona’s participation in the new competition depends on whether league members vote in favour of the proposal, ESPN Deportes and Spanish media reported.
Catalan television channel TV3 reported that the contract signed by Barca president Joan Laporta with the other 11 founding clubs contains a clause allowing the club to withdraw from the agreement if its members disagree.
Laporta met with Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman on Tuesday to explain the club’s position in the Super League. On Wednesday, she met with the club’s captains Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto.
Barcelona was not immediately available for comment.
Unlike the Champions League, for which teams must qualify through their national league, the founding teams of the Super League would secure a place in a new league each year.
UEFA has warned that it may impose penalties on clubs and players who participate in match fixing. News of the Super League has also raised concerns among public figures such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis.
UEFA voted on Monday to change the format of the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams. The revamped tournament is expected to launch at the start of the 2024-25 season.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino told the 12 dissident clubs of the European Super League on Tuesday that they cannot be half in, half out of the established football system and must accept the reality of their decision.
A number of top players under contract to these six Premier League clubs have expressed concern over UEFA’s threat to ban them from playing for their country at international tournaments, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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