Super League collapses as Premier League clubs pull out

The proposed European Super League collapsed on Tuesday after Premier League clubs withdrew from the deeply divisive project following a furious backlash by fans and threats from football authorities.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal were six of the 12 leading clubs to initially sign up to the breakaway competition designed to guarantee spots each year and billions of dollars for founding members.

But reaction to the plans has been scathing, with politicians and football chiefs threatening to take legal action against the so-called “dirty dozen”, who were told they faced potential bans from domestic and continental competitions.

United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham joined City in withdrawing from the ill-fated European Super League (ESL), with Chelsea reportedly set to follow — just 48 hours after the project was announced.

That leaves just six sides — Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus still involved.

City were the first club to announce their withdrawal.

“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 club said in a brief statement.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he was “delighted” by City’s decision to pull out, with the other clubs making similar announcements.

The English Football Association said it welcomed moves by clubs to abandon plans for the Super League, praising fans for “their influential and unequivocal voice”.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and French giants Paris Saint-Germain both came out strongly opposed to the breakaway league.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson tweeted a statement on behalf of the squad, saying: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”

On a day of intense drama, Manchester United announced that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would step down from his role at the end of 2021.

Earlier, Ceferin, addressing the owners, particularly of the Premier League teams involved, said there was still time for clubs to pull out.

“Some will say it is greed, some complete ignorance of England’s football culture,” he said. “There’s still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes.”

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