All six Premier League clubs have officially withdrawn from the proposed European Super League, but do you think they should be punished for pursuing it?
Plans for a controversial European Super League ended in tatters after widespread backlash from the wider football community forced the Premier League’s “Big Six” clubs to climb down and withdraw from their plans to become “founder member clubs” in the new venture.
The proposals have ended with considerable damage caused to the reputations of the figures behind the six Premier League clubs’ moves to be a part of the league, which was set to feature 15 founding clubs that were protected from relegation, while five additional league places were to be on offer for other top European clubs to earn via their performances in their respective domestic competions.
However, the official announcement was met by universal disgust as the football community united in its condemnation of the plans.
With fans protesting outside grounds and statements of concern from managers and players, as well as a tidal wave of criticism from the media, the six Premier League clubs’ commitment to the new league quickly disintegrated.
All six have since announced their withdrawal from the proposed new league, with each club addressing the situation via a series of statements.
Arsenal issued a direct apology to their fans via a social media statement, telling the Gunners faithful, “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.”
A statement from Chelsea explained that, “Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community.”
Liverpool owner John W. Henry recorded a video statement to take personal responsibility as he addressed the fans in person.
“I want to apologise to all the fans of Liverpool Football Club for all of the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours,” he said.
“It goes without saying but it should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans.
“No one ever thought differently in England. Over these past 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand.”
He continued, “It’s important that the Liverpool football family remains intact, vital and committed to what we’ve seen from you globally, with local gestures of kindness and support.
“I can promise you I will do whatever I can to further that.”
After their lengthy initial statement announcing their participation in The Super League, Manchester City confirmed their withdrawal via a one-sentence statement, saying, “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.”
Manchester United also issued a short statement confirming their withdrawal, saying, “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.”
United’s withdrawal followed the news that the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would depart the Old Trafford club at the end of 2021.
Tottenham Hotspur completed the Premier League clubs’ complete withdrawal from the ESL, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy saying 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.”
With the Premier League clubs now officially withdrawn from the controversial new venture, talk has now turned to whether the clubs involved should be sanctioned by football’s governing bodies for their attempt to partly separate themselves from the rest of the football pyramid.
And here at Express Sport, we want you to weigh in with your views. Cast your vote in our poll above and share your views on what you want to see happen next via the comments below.