Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have joined Manchester City in announcing their departure from the doomed Super League project.
The tournament that all six clubs, along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Milan and Juventus announced on Sunday evening is now seemingly on the verge of collapsing after unprecedented criticism from the wider footballing world.
The Super League was initially planned to rival UEFA’s Champions League, but football fans across the sport took exception to the closed-off nature of the competition and the bizarre umbrage that the tournament took to traditional sporting merit.
Along with statements and threats from governing bodies like UEFA and FIFA, plus world leaders like British prime minister Boris Johnson, the final straw that broke the camel’s back seemed to come on Tuesday afternoon when Chelsea fans marched on Stamford Bridge to protest the plans ahead of their Premier League clash with Brighton.
Shortly after the dramatic scenes in London, news broke confirming that the Stamford Bridge side were planning on pulling out of the competition. An hour later Man City have officially confirmed that they were beginning the process of leaving the project.
English clubs confirm departure from Super League proposal
A statement on the Liverpool website confirmed that they involvement in the proposed tournament had been “discontinued” while adding:
“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.”
In a lengthy statement titled as an “open letter to our fans” Arsenal confirmed their departure from the competition too.
“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.”
Tottenham followed suit by confirming that they had “formally commenced procedures to withdraw from the group”, while Chelsea added their own confirmation last to make up all of the six English clubs that were initially involved.
It should be noted that in each withdrawal statement, it was only Arsenal who offered an apology to their supporters for their ill-fated involvement in the project.
Will the breakaway clubs face any repercussions?
While UEFA may be happy to welcome the six clubs back to European competiton and they’ll almost certainly expect to continue playing in the Premier League, this may not be the end of the matter for English football.
According to Guardian, the English FA’s chief executive, Mark Bullingham, has gained support from the UK government to push for new legislation that would close the door for good on any future plans from the bigger clubs to try another breakaway in the future.
Following a meeting with Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters and the division’s other 14 clubs, it seems as though the FA may feel emboldened by the support of the top-flight and government to make sure these returning clubs don’t get too comfortable too quickly.