Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will begin the withdrawal process from the proposed European Super League, the clubs confirmed on Tuesday.
Chelsea is also expected to exit the proposed league, sources confirmed to ESPN.
– Stream ESPN FC daily on ESPN + (US only)
– Olley: Chelsea’s ‘win’ in the Super League overshadows the monotonous draw
The reversal is a surprising U-turn for English Premier League clubs after Sunday’s announcement that they were among the 12 biggest football teams in Europe planning to part ways from the UEFA Champions League.
Man City was the first of the clubs to announce this, making a short statement: “Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally promulgated the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”
In their statement, Arsenal “apologized” to their supporters and added: “It was never our intention to cause so much anguish, however when the invitation to join the Super League arrived, knowing that there were no guarantees, we did not want them to leave us.” behind to make sure we protect Arsenal and their future. “
Liverpool said its participation in the two-day project “has been discontinued”, while Manchester United said it is withdrawing from the deal. Tottenham also said that I would not participate.
After Manchester City announced their departure, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: “I am delighted to welcome [Manchester City] returning to the European football family. They have shown great intelligence when listening to the many voices, especially their fans.
“It takes courage to admit a mistake, but I have never doubted that they had the ability and common sense to make that decision. City are a real asset to the game and I am delighted to work with them for a better future for the European. “. play.”
The Chelsea news was first reported by the BBC and confirmed by ESPN’s James Olley. The club has yet to make an official statement.
Those 12 clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – had insisted that the ESL would provide greater financial support. to the soccer pyramid. with some 10,000 million euros planned in solidarity payments to non-participating clubs that will be distributed over an initial period of 23 years.
Superliga organizers, led by Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez, had said they hoped to add three more founding members before launching their competition “as soon as possible.”
Pérez, who was scheduled to appear on the Spanish radio show “El Larguero” on Cadena SER on Tuesday night, skipped the interview to attend meetings related to the proposed league, according to that show’s host Manu Carreño. .
Ahead of their goalless draw with Brighton on Tuesday, a group of Chelsea players went to President Bruce Buck to tell him they opposed the proposed league, sources told Olley.
Several hundred fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge hours before kickoff to voice their opposition to the club’s plan to enter the new competition.
Technical and performance director Petr Cech was seen on camera pleading with fans to let the team bus roll to the ground as fans blocked his access to the stadium.
News later leaked that the Blues were drafting documentation to reverse their decision to join, prompting cheers and chants of “We’ve saved the football” from fans who had been moved about 300 meters from the stadium’s main entry point.
Earlier in the day, the other 14 Premier League clubs met to discuss the crisis together with the Football Association.
The Premier League issued a statement on Tuesday saying it “unanimously and forcefully rejected” the plans and was considering taking steps to hold all six clubs to account.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Barcelona’s participation in a new league would be conditional on members of the Liga club voting in favor of the proposal, according to ESPN Deportes and Spanish media reports.
The Catalan television channel TV3 reported that the contract signed by the president of Barça, Joan Laporta, with the other 11 founding member clubs, included a clause that allowed the club to terminate the agreement if its members did not agree.
The report added that Laporta met with Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman on Tuesday to explain the club’s position in the Superliga and has agreed to speak with club captains Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto el Wednesday.
Barcelona was not immediately available to comment.
Unlike the Champions League competition, where teams have to qualify through their national league, the founding teams of the Super League would be guaranteed a place in the new competition each year.
UEFA has warned that it may impose sanctions on clubs and players participating in the dissident competition. The Super League news also prompted statements of concern from public figures such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis.
UEFA on Monday voted on changes to the Champions League format expanding it from 32 teams to 36 with the revamped tournament, which will begin at the start of the 2024-25 season.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino told the 12 separatist clubs in the European Super League on Tuesday that they cannot be “half in, half out” of the established football system and must face the reality of their decision.
Several of the top contract players at those six Premier League clubs had raised concerns about UEFA’s threat to ban them from playing for their countries in international tournaments, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Reuters contributed to this report.