Dropped by the six English clubs, the Super League, rival private competition of the Champions League, lost, on Tuesday, half of its founders, powerless in the face of threats from football authorities and outcry from supporters.
Manchester City were the first to give in, announcing in a statement that they had “formally launched the procedure to withdraw from the group responsible for developing the European Super League project”. The other five English clubs followed: Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal initially at the end of the evening, followed two hours later by Chelsea who, in his press release noted that “his participation (in this project) would not serve not the interests of the club, its supporters and the wider football community ”.
“We made a mistake and we apologize for that”, for his part acknowledged Arsenal in a statement, summing up in one sentence what supporters, authorities and governments have been striving to point out for two days.
Due to your listening and that of the wider football community over the past few days, we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League.
We made a mistake and we apologize for it.
– Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 20, 2021
A remodeling announced
Faced with these withdrawals, the creators of the Super League announced Wednesday that they would “reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project”. The Super League, based in Spain, has nevertheless reiterated “convinced” that its proposal “is fully aligned with European law”, and that “the current status quo in European football must change.”
However, the dissident organization does not specifically specify how it intends to “reshape” its project, nor does it indicate whether it will be within bodies such as the European Football Union (UEFA) or always outside.
The six other clubs initially engaged (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus Turin, AC Milan, Atlético Madrid, Inter Milan) have not taken a position since the defections of their initial allies.
An incredible turnaround came to relieve UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, who said he was “delighted to welcome City’s return to the European football family”, in a statement sent to Agence France Presse (AFP ) before the defections of other Premier League leaders.
“The decision, by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if it is confirmed – absolutely the right one, and I salute it”, wrote British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter, shortly before the Citizens’ press release. “I hope that the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow this initiative,” he added, promising to use all means against the Super League, “including the legislative option”.
The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if upheld – absolutely the right one and I congratulate them on it.
I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their example.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 20, 2021
In the evening, several hundred English club fans loudly expressed their disapproval near Stamford Bridge stadium in Chelsea, London.
UEFA, which for its part defends its own reform of the Champions League, a traditional competition for clubs from the Old Continent since 1955, fired live ammunition on Monday at these “snakes”, “guided only by greed”, words of Aleksander Ceferin.
On the subject:
He did not hesitate to threaten the twelve dissidents with draconian reprisals, such as the exclusion of these clubs from all national and international competitions, even brandishing a Euro or a World Cup without the international players playing in these teams. But he had also urged them to “change their mind” after “a huge mistake”, a step crowned with success in the evening.
Fifa President Gianni Infantino had also come to the aid of an upset European football, reiterating his opposition to this “closed club”. “Either you are inside or you are outside,” he said Tuesday morning at the UEFA Congress in Montreux (Switzerland).
The Super League seemed to have anticipated this outcry and threats. She even won a first legal victory on Tuesday by obtaining from a commercial court in Madrid a decision likely to temporarily freeze any sanction concerning her.
With a meeting scheduled for Friday of the UEFA Executive Committee, the question of the exclusion of “mutinous” clubs nevertheless remained on the table, in particular for the current edition of the Champions League, the last four of which includes three clubs. concerned (Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid).