Public Outcry Sees Premier League Clubs Withdraw From European Super League
fter the European Super League was officially announced on Monday, with 12 top European football teams committing to the new competition, football fans and pundits, along with government and governing bodies immediately expressed their dislike of the concept.
Fans also took to the streets outside of their favourite club’s stadiums in protest of the decision, claiming the move would destroy the credibility of football across Europe and placing the blame largely on American ownership groups.
Since this public outcry, the six Premier League clubs who initially committed, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Spurs, have all signalled their intent to withdraw from the competition.
The announcements from the six clubs came within hours of each other, led by Manchester City, which was immediately welcomed by comments from UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, who said: “I am delighted to welcome City back to the European football family.”
“They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices, most notably their fans, that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football.
“It takes courage to admit a mistake, but I have never doubted that they had the ability and common sense to make that decision,” Ceferin said.
The withdrawals come soon after the announcement from the European Super League Company (SLCo) to launch legal action in an effort to prevent governing body bans for teams and players in domestic and international competitions.
In a letter to UEFA and FIFA, the Super League Company said: “We are concerned that FIFA and UEFA may respond to this invitation letter by seeking to take punitive measures to exclude any participating club or player from their respective competitions.”
“We hope that is not your response to this letter and that, like us, your organisations will recognise the immediate benefits of the competition established by SLCo.
“We also seek your co-operation and support on how the competition can be brought within the football ecosystem and work with us to achieve that objective.
“Your formal statement does, however, compel us to take protective steps to secure ourselves against such an adverse reaction, which would not only jeopardise the funding commitment under the grant but, significantly, would be unlawful.
“For this reason, SLCo has filed a motion before the relevant courts in order to ensure the seamless establishment and operation of the competition in accordance with applicable laws,” the letter said.
Despite this, the decision from the six Premier League clubs to withdraw leaves just six remaining European clubs committed to the competition.
In a statement, Arsenal apologised to fans for committing to the competition, saying: “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,” the club said.
Premier League commentators have pundits have immediately pointed to the work of several key figures across the league in influencing the club’s decisions to withdraw, including Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson, who released a statement reflecting the thoughts of the Liverpool playing group.
“We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen,” Henderson said on Twitter.
“This is our collective position.
“Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” he said.
Immediately following the announcements from the six Premier League clubs, Manchester United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward announced he would resign at the end of 2021.
According to the club, Woodward had already agreed to resign at the end of the year, but the announcement was brought forward.
There are reports the decision was linked to Manchester United’s withdrawal from the European Super League due to Woodward being a supporter of the concept of the breakaway competition, but the club has shut this down by revealing the decision for Woodward to depart was already made.