Super League left in tatters as Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs and Arsenal pull out

Plans for a Super League lie in ruins after all six of English founders pulled out of the competition less than 48 hours after it was devised.

Chelsea fans protest against the Super League outside Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea fans protest against the Super League outside Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur all decided to abandon the concept of breaking away to form a new tournament late on Tuesday night after their plans were met with widespread fury and condemnation by football fans and the wider public. Chelsea are expected to formally announce their withdrawal on Wednesday morning.

It capped a remarkable evening of developments in the saga which also saw United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward resign.

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City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs all put out statements to varying lengths on their website confirming their U-turns, with some apologising to their supporters after enraging them. Spanish club Atletico Madrid are widely expected to depart the group too, which would only leave Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Internazionale and AC Milan involved in the Super League Real president Florentino Perez held late-night crisis talks with key stakeholders to determine their next move.

Statement after statement

Man City were the first to cave in, with a short statement reading: "Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.” Their move was followed 90 minutes later by four other clubs.

Arsenal announced their withdrawal from just before 11pm, tweeting: "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."

Almost simultaneously, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said he regretted the "anxiety and upset" caused as he confirmed the club had "formally commenced procedures to withdraw from the group developing proposals for a European Super League (ESL)."

Levy said in a statement: "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."

Liverpool also released a brief statement just before 11pm, which read: "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."

Joy for Dalglish, Neville and Carragher

Sir Kenny Dalglish welcomed the news of Liverpool's withdrawal, saying on Twitter: "The fans have always been and will always be integral to Liverpool Football Club. In so many ways they are the club. I am relieved to know that the club has listened to them.”

In their communication outlining their decision, Manchester United said: "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."

The news was hailed by former Man Utd defender Gary Neville and ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who have been extremely vocal against the proposals via their Sky Sports platform.

Neville declared the Super League was finished and said: "It's absolutely incredible. There was large concern yesterday morning as a Manchester United fan thinking Joel Glazer put his name on a statement – you thought it's going to be difficult to back down.

"But City have enacted withdrawal proceedings and Chelsea are doing the same. It's gone, done!"

When the news that Ed Woodward had resigned as Manchester United executive vice-chairman broke, Neville tweeted a waving emoji.

The former United defender then posted a picture of himself drinking a glass of wine with the caption: "To the Super League."

Neville's fellow Sky Sports pundit Carragher tweeted a picture of a headstone engraved with the inscription "European Super League, born April 18, 2021, died April 20, 2021."

Carragher claimed the comments of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, midfielder James Milner and Leeds striker Patrick Bamford after Monday night's match helped swing the balance.

"I just think the reaction of everybody, Jurgen Klopp coming out last night, James Milner and Patrick Bamford," he said.

"Yesterday afternoon I was fearful. It was really serious, it felt like there was no fight, that the ship had sailed.

"But after the game I felt reenergised and was confident this would be over after those players came out. That gave me a huge lift. I said as soon as one goes that's the end of it, and it's finished.

"Klopp threw the owners under the bus, the captain (Jordan Henderson) has, Kenny Dalglish has. I don't know what they are hanging on for. I don't see a future for the ownership on the back of this."

Robbo’s message

There had been reports that Liverpool skipper Henderson had called a meeting of his fellow Premier League captains, but he may now not need to.

He and a number of his Liverpool team-mates, including Scotland captain Andy Robertson, tweeted: "We don't like it and we don't want it to happen. This is our collective position.

"Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional. You'll Never Walk Alone."

Former Scotland and Chelsea midfielder Pat Nevin, covering their match against Brighton on Tuesday night, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm not going to make excuses for Chelsea, they got it wrong.

"But the best thing to do when you realise something is wrong is hold your hand up and get out of it. Chelsea might pat themselves on the back and say 'we've destroyed this'.

"It is so obvious that it is going to fall apart now."

The FA and government

The Football Association thanked fans for their role in Tuesday night's dramatic developments.

An FA statement said: "We welcome the news that some of the clubs have decided to abandon the plans for the European Super League, which threatened the whole football pyramid.

"English football has a proud history based on opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league. It was a proposition that, by design, could have divided our game; but instead, it has unified us all.

"We would like to thank the fans in particular for their influential and unequivocal voice during this time, holding true the guiding principles of football. It is a powerful reminder that the game is, and always will be, for fans.

"We would also like to thank the Prime Minister, Secretary of State and Sports Minister for their unwavering and critical support against these plans."

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