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Fans spoke and clubs listened: all English clubs pull the plug on European Super League

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All English clubs have now pulled out of the European Super League, Sky Sports has reported. That means that Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed they will follow Manchester City and Chelsea’s lead in withdrawing from the planned tournament.

The news follows yesterday’s announcement that twelve football clubs from the UK, Spain, and Italy had announced that they had signed up to the newly formed European Super League.

Chelsea fans were protesting outside Stamford Bridge ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League match against Brighton. Chelsea decided to pull out of the Super League on grounds of overwhelming negative worldwide reaction, Sky Sports reported.

It could be presumed that a corresponding women’s league will also be scrapped or put on hold for those English teams that left the Super League.

Reactions earlier this week included:

UEFA: “We will consider all measures available to us to prevent this happening”

‘It’s a time of great concern’ – Lineker on European Super League

“It’s ruined football forever” – a 17 year-old Chelsea supporter

“How could they do this to us?” – a 11 year-old Manchester City supporter

Why did this happen in the first place?

The founding clubs were being enticed with a share of a €3.5bn (£3bn) grant provided by JP Morgan, said the BBC. The ESL argues the new tournament “will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football”.

The Competition Format that never was?

  • 20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
  • Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar.
  • An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals.
  • Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
  • Once these members are formed, it would be permanent and never face relegation.

The formation of the Super League came at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model, the European Super League stated in a press release.

“Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.”

In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions. The Founding Clubs believed the solutions proposed following these talks did not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.

The solidarity payments would have been substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and were expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the Clubs.

Before the deal fell apart this is what those directing the European Super League deal said:

Florentino Pérez, President Real Madrid CF and the first Chairman of the Super League said: “We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Backing the new European league, Andrea Agnelli, Chairman of Juventus and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said: “Our 12 Founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies. We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”

Joel Glazer, Co-Chairman of Manchester United and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”

UEFA’s initial response

“UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League.

If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.

We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”

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