News ID: 302373
Published: 0247 GMT April 21, 2021

All six Premier League teams, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan withdraw from ESL

All six Premier League teams, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan withdraw from ESL

All six Premier League teams involved in the European Super League (ESL) as well as Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan withdrew from the competition.

Manchester City was the first club to pull out after Chelsea had signaled its intent to do so by preparing documentation to withdraw, BBC wrote.

The other four sides — Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham —all followed suit.

Italian side Inter Milan is also set to withdraw as it no longer wishes to be involved with the project.

BBC Sport understands bosses at the Serie A club are preparing for their exit following Tuesday night's dramatic developments.

The 12-team Super League, set up by the seven aforementioned teams and Spain's Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and Italy's AC Milan and Juventus was announced on Sunday to widespread condemnation.

"Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure put on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations," the ESL said on Wednesday, adding it was "convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change".

In an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli said the remaining clubs will "press ahead" and the project still had "a 100 percent chance of being a success".

"Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is insisting on the idea of keeping the group together to push for change," said Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

"Barcelona say they agreed to the ESL, but only if the Season Ticket Holders Assembly approve it, which could be their way out."

Manchester City confirmed it has "formally enacted the procedures to withdraw" from the Super League.

Liverpool said its involvement in the proposed breakaway league "has been discontinued".

Manchester United said it had "listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders" in making its decision to not take part.

Arsenal apologized in an open letter to its fans and said it had "made a mistake", adding it was withdrawing after listening to them and the "wider football community".

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club regretted the "anxiety and upset" caused by the proposal.

Chelsea confirmed it has "begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group" that they only joined "late last week".

A statement from La Liga club Atletico Madrid said, "The Atlético de Madrid board of directors, meeting Wednesday morning, has decided to formally communicate to the Superliga and the rest of the founding clubs its decision not to finally formalize its adherence to the project.”

In a statement, Serie A club Inter Milan confirmed its exit, saying, "FC Internazionale Milano confirms that the club is no longer part of the Super League project. We are always committed to giving the fans the best football experience; innovation and inclusion have been part of our DNA since our foundation. Our commitment with all stakeholders to improve the football industry will never change.”


'Admirable to admit a mistake '


UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the reversal, adding, "I said yesterday that it is admirable to admit a mistake and these clubs made a big mistake.

"But they are back in the fold now and I know they have a lot to offer not just to our competitions but to the whole of the European game.

"The important thing now is that we move on, rebuild the unity that the game enjoyed before this and move forward together."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted on Twitter: "I welcome last night's announcement. This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country. We must continue to protect our cherished national game."

Labour leader Keir Starmer added that this "must be a watershed moment, where we change our game to put fans first again", while Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey tweeted: "This must be the start of a fans-led football revolution."

In a statement, the European Super League said, "Given the current circumstances we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community."

English football's 'big six' were part of a group that announced plans to form the breakaway league, which they hoped to establish as a new midweek competition.

It was condemned by fans, football authorities and government ministers in the UK and across Europe by UEFA and league associations.

Around 1,000 fans gathered outside Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground before their game against Brighton on Tuesday to protest at their club's involvement.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was involved in the Super League discussions, announced he will step down from his role at the end of 2021.

Leading players at some of the six clubs signaled their disapproval of the planned breakaway league.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said on social media his side's "collective position" is it does not want the Super League to take place.

"We don't like it and we don't want it to happen," read a message that was also posted by many fellow Liverpool players.

After City confirmed its withdrawal, England winger Raheem Sterling posted: "Ok bye."

UEFA had hoped to stave off the threat of a European Super League with a new 36-team Champions League, which was agreed on Monday.

In announcing their proposals for a Super League that would eventually comprise 20 teams, the 12-club group said the Champions League reforms did not go far enough.

Real Madrid president Perez, who was named as the ESL's chairman, said the competition was set up "to save football" because young people are "no longer interested" in the game because of "a lot of poor quality games".

None of the Spanish and Italian sides have yet released a statement after the six Premier League teams pulled out.


What did each club say?


The Arsenal board said the team did not intend to "cause such distress" and that it joined the Super League because it "did not want to be left behind" and wanted to ensure the club's future.

"Our aim is always to make the right decisions for this great football club, to protect it for the future and to take us forward," the board added.

"We didn't make the right decision here, which we fully accept."

Manchester United said that it "remains committed to working with others across the football community to come up with sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges facing the game".

Liverpool said the club had "received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally" before reaching its decision and thanked them for their "valuable contributions".

Levy said that Tottenham felt it was "important" to take part in "a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid".

He added, "We should like to thank all those supporters who presented their considered opinions."

Chelsea said that after having had "time to consider the matter fully" it had decided that its "continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the club, its supporters or the wider football community".

Manchester City said it has "formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League".




Resource: BBC
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