Plans to launch the controversial European Super League among elite soccer teams lie in tatters after the six English clubs previously involved said that they had withdrawn. They appear to have misjudged the scale of negative reactions from government and fans.
Plans for the breakaway league were announced on Sunday and would have seen upwards of a dozen English and continental European club teams quit existing European tournaments and instead seen them play each other in mid-week matches. The new elite tournament would not have required the elite teams to qualify each year and would instead have included them on their historical success and financial prowess.
The English club withdrawals were announced late on Tuesday local time. Manchester City was the first to back out, closely followed by Liverpool. The four other English teams Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur followed suit.
“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely the right one and I commend them for it. I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead,” said U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued,” Liverpool said via Twitter.
The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely the right one and I commend them for it.
I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 20, 2021
Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 20, 2021
Their decisions were also welcomed by UEFA, regulator of the European game. “”They are back in the fold now and I know they have a lot to offer not just to our competitions but to the whole of the European game,” said Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.
The European Super League proposals also included three outfits from Italy AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, and three from Spain, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. The initial lineup had not included any teams from either France or Germany.
The proposal was quickly challenged by other soccer bodies, regulators and governments in the countries concerned. The breakaway clubs were threatened with expulsion from other leagues and players were warned that they might no longer be allowed to play for national teams.
The breakaway league had been intended to give the top clubs a greater share of television rights and to address the rising costs of top-flight soccer. But, in doing so, it was accused of Americanizing the European game and of damaging other clubs.
“The conspirator clubs have obviously failed to see that their status today was not achieved in isolation, but rather was part of a dynamic European system where big, medium and small clubs have all contributed to the successes and losses of everyone. It is an affront to European values and sporting merit for them to assume they are entitled to “separate” and lay claim to the legacy that everyone built,” UEFA said on its website.