European football’s escaped Super League has been in tatters since the six English Premier League clubs involved in the project resigned 48 hours after agreeing to join the Italian and Spanish sides in the controversial elite competition.
After a storm of protests from supporters, players, managers and governments, alongside threats of bans and sanctions from European and global gaming governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA, the English clubs threw in the towel on Tuesday.
Manchester City were the first to pull out of the company, and then Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea announced they were following suit.
The Super League released a statement suggesting that while they may have put their project on hold, they haven’t given up on it completely.
“Given the current circumstances, we will reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always keeping in mind our goals to provide supporters with the best possible experience while improving solidarity payments for the entire community. football community, ”the statement read.
The Madrid-based organization said the departure of the English teams was due to the “pressure” placed on them and said it was “convinced that the current status quo in European football must change”.
The league, which was announced on Sunday with 12 founding members, is defended by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the competition’s new president. There are now three Italian clubs left – AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan – plus Perez’s Real Madrid with Barcelona and Spain’s Atletico Madrid.
Perez canceled a scheduled radio interview on Tuesday.
More departures expected
Inter Milan are expected to be the next to leave with Italian news agency ANSA citing a source at the club saying: “The Super League project in its current state is no longer considered of interest by Inter”.
UEFA, whose elite Champions League competition was threatened by the proposed new league, has threatened to ban clubs and players who have joined the Super League.
Its president Aleksander Ceferin, however, urged English clubs to think again and adopted a conciliatory tone.
“I said yesterday that it was admirable to admit a mistake and that these clubs made a big mistake,” he said after the English clubs announced their decision to leave.
“But they’re back in the fold now and I know they have a lot to offer not only our competitions but the whole European game.
“The important thing now is that we move forward, rebuild the unity the game enjoyed before that and move forward together,” he said.
To add to the drama, Manchester United executive vice-president Ed Woodward announced his resignation shortly before his club gave up on a project he had helped bring about.
#SuperLeague has been officially SUSPENDED 🚨🚫
– The English clubs are gone (Chelsea too, soon official).
– Inter is gone, AC Milan is about to leave.
– Juventus and Spanish clubs: awaiting official position.
The totality #SuperLeague was arrested to “reshape the project”.
– Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 20, 2021
Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and French giant Paris Saint-Germain have firmly opposed the separatist league.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson tweeted a statement on behalf of the team, saying: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position. “
The Super League had argued that it would increase the income of the top clubs and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game.
U.S. investment bank JP Morgan has been asked to fund the new league, offering a € 3.5 billion ($ 4.21 billion) grant to founding clubs for infrastructure spending and post-recovery recovery. effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, sport governing bodies, other teams and fan organizations have said that the Super League will strengthen the power and wealth of elite clubs and that the league’s partially closed structure goes against the model of long standing in European football.
Unlike the current high-level Champions League competition in Europe, where teams must qualify through their home league, the Super League’s founding teams would have secured a spot in the new competition every year.
Most English clubs have only made brief statements, but Arsenal have apologized to their fans for their involvement.
“We never intended to cause such distress, but when the invitation to join the Super League came, knowing there was no guarantee, we didn’t want to be left behind. to ensure the protection of Arsenal and its future.
“As a result of your listening and listening to the wider football community over the past few days, we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake and we apologize for it, ”the London club said in an open letter to fans.
The scale of the split in the game and the force of sentiment it engendered has led political leaders across Europe to speak out and, in some cases, threaten intervention.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said his government will consider passing a law to stop the separation, likening the plans to creating a cartel.
The Premier League said it had “unanimously and vigorously” rejected the plans. After a meeting with the 14 clubs not involved, he said he was considering “all available actions” to stop the new competition.
“We have listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders,” Manchester United said in a statement.
“We remain committed to working with other members of the football community to find lasting solutions to the long-term challenges facing football.