BREAKING NEWS: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Spurs join Super League exodus in remarkable U-turn

By Ryan Benson 21 April 2021 1152
BREAKING NEWS: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Spurs join Super League exodus in remarkable U-turn

Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham have all confirmed they are withdrawing from the proposed European Super League.

England's so-called "big six" announced on Sunday their involvement in the development of a European Super League with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Inter.

But less than 48 hours after those plans were confirmed, the competition has been left in ruins with the English sides turning their back on it.

Manchester City were the first to reveal they had in motion their decision to withdraw, while Chelsea have also begun such proceedings, though an official announcement is yet to be made.

Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and United – who earlier on Tuesday confirmed club chief Ed Woodward will be leaving the club at the end of 2021 in an apparently unrelated move – then released simultaneous statements ending their association with the competition.

United and Liverpool made brief statements that highlighted the input of "key stakeholders" but failed to offer apologies. A Reds spokesperson said: "Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.

"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."

The Red Devils added: "Manchester United will not be participating in the European Super League. We have listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders.

"We remain committed to working with others across the football community to come up with sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges facing the game."

However, Arsenal and Tottenham offered more altogether more considered responses, with the Gunners' board penning an open letter to supporters.

It read: "The last few days have shown us yet again the depth of feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love. We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought.

"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.

"We know it will take time to restore your faith in what we are trying to achieve here at Arsenal but let us be clear that the decision to be part of the Super League was driven by our desire to protect Arsenal, the club you love, and to support the game you love through greater solidarity and financial stability.

"Stability is essential for the game to prosper and we will continue to strive to bring the security the game needs to move forward.

"The system needs to be fixed. We must work together to find solutions which protect the future of the game and harness the extraordinary power football has to get us on the edge of our seats.

"Finally, we know this has been hugely unsettling at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all. 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. We didn't make the right decision here, which we fully accept. We have heard you."

And Spurs chairman Daniel Levy also acknowledged the stress caused for supporters and the wider football community.

He said: "We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal. We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of 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.

"We believe that we should never stand still and that the sport should constantly review competitions and governance to ensure the game we all love continues to evolve and excite fans around the world. We should like to thank all those supporters who presented their considered opinions."

With Chelsea seemingly set to follow suit, the only clubs left from the remaining 12 are the three from Spain and the Italian trio – there have been few media reports suggesting any sort of movement from them.

Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was set to front the Super League as chairman, claimed on Monday that there was no risk of clubs withdrawing due to contracts being signed.

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Ryan Benson