EPL clubs in bombshell withdrawal from European Super League

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Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Roman Abramovich, pictured here at English Premier League games.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Roman Abramovich, club bosses at Manchester City and Chelsea. Image: Getty

The controversial European Super League is officially in tatters, with all six EPL clubs withdrawing from the $6 billion breakaway league.

The English Premier League clubs sensationally confirmed their intention to pull out of the proposed project on Tuesday.

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The Premier League's so-called 'big six' of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham were among 12 clubs plotting to form a breakaway rival to the Champions League.

But Manchester City and Chelsea were the first clubs to quit the controversial project on Tuesday, with the other four English clubs following soon after.

"Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League," City said in a statement.

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

“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.

“As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.”

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

“We have listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders.

“We remain committed to working with others across the football community to come up with sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges facing the game.”

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

“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.”

Manchester United's share price had taken an extraordinary hit since the announcement it was joining the Super League.

That leaves just six sides - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus still involved in the project - which appears to be dead.

On a day of rapid developments that left the Super League concept in danger of collapsing just two days after it had been announced, Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward flagged his intention to resign.

Chelsea fans, pictured here celebrating the club's withdrawal from the ESL.
Fans celebrate the news of Chelsea's withdrawal from the European Super League. (Photo by David Cliff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had threatened to introduce laws to stop clubs forming a new European competition, praised the development.

"The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is - if confirmed - absolutely the right one and I commend them for it," he wrote on Twitter.

"I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead."

In Spain, speculation was brewing that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were planning similar steps in what could be a fatal blow to the plan.

Chelsea's decision to leave the Super League came as fans protested outside the club's Stamford Bridge stadium ahead of Tuesday's game against Brighton and as English opposition to the scheme intensified.

The Premier League threatened to sanction the six rebel clubs and PM Johnson considered introducing laws to stop them forming a new European competition he called a "cartel."

Petr Cech, pictured here calling for calm as fans protest the European Super League.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech calls for calm as fans protest. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Divisions within the Super League clubs also grew with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola saying the league would damage the integrity and values of sport.

"It's not a sport when success is already guaranteed. It's not a sport when it doesn't matter when you lose."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has also expressed concerns about the actions of his club's owners.

The Premier League had already threatened the six Super League clubs with expulsion if they go it alone in Europe.

The other 14 clubs met on Tuesday and "unanimously and vigorously" rejected the Super League plans.

"The Premier League is considering all actions available to prevent it from progressing, as well as holding those shareholders involved to account under its rules," the English top division said in a statement.

with AAP

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