Plans for a European Super League began to collapse two days after being announced as English football clubs Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham announced late Tuesday they were pulling out.
“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,” the City said in a statement.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued,” the Merseyside club announced. “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 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,” the club announced.
In another club announcement, Manchester United said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would step down from his role at the end of 2021.
Woodward joined United in 2005 and became executive vice-chairman in 2012.
“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,” Arsenal shared a tweet, including “an open letter” to its fans.
Chelsea, according to reports, will also pull out of the league.
Before City’s announcement, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the clubs’ decision to leave.
“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely the right one, and I commend them for it,” he said on Twitter. “I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”
European Super League
On late Sunday, English football powerhouses Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, along with Italy’s Juventus, Milan and Inter and Spanish teams Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid released a joint statement to declare that they had decided to establish the European Super League.
In the statement, the founding clubs also set the format of the annual tournament.
Both FIFA and UEFA slammed their decision.
Aleksander Ceferin, the head of UEFA, European football’s governing body, said the players of the teams who will play in the Super League could not represent their nations in the FIFA World Cup and European football championships.
In a speech on Tuesday, Ceferin said: “At this point, I would like to address the owners of some English clubs. Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake.”
“Some will say it is greed, others [will say] disdain arrogance, flippancy, or complete ignorance of England’s football culture. But actually, it does not matter,” Ceferin said and adding that the clubs have time to correct their mistake.
“What matters is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes.”
“Selfishness is replacing solidarity. Money has become more important than glory, greed more important than loyalty, and dividends more important than passion,” he said.