Chelsea’s intentions to leave the European Super League game as fans protested their involvement outside Stamford Bridge
Manchester City have withdrawn from the European Super League (ESL) and Chelsea are also preparing for it.
Efforts to leave the company come just two days after they were both announced as two of six English clubs to enter the controversial new competition.
The ESL has been criticized many times since it was announced on Sunday.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said on social media His team’s “collective position” is that they don’t want the Super League to take place.
“We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen,” read a message posted by many other Liverpool players as well.
“Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Manchester City and Chelsea made “absolutely the right” decision and that he hopes others will “follow suit”.
Johnson’s stance against the ESL was supported by Labor and the Liberal Democrats.
Around 1,000 fans gathered in front of the Stamford Bridge site in Chelsea before their game against Brighton on Tuesday to protest their club’s involvement.
Chelsea and City were part of the “Big Six” clubs of English football, along with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, which had agreed to join the new league.
A total of 12 European clubs announced their intention to form the breakaway league, which they wanted to establish as a new competition during the week.
It has been condemned by football authorities and government ministers in the UK and across Europe from UEFA and league associations.
Chelsea were the first club to indicate they will not prepare documents for the withdrawal. The city withdrew soon after.
Chelsea and City weren’t drivers of this plan, they were the last to sign, fearful of being left behind.
It’s not clear how easy it is or how binding the contracts are.
The decision to leave Chelsea was made by owner Roman Abramovich and the club’s board of directors after seeing a negative global reaction to the Super League.
There were concerns that it could damage the club’s reputation and undermine some of its campaigning and community work.
Questions have been raised internally as to whether fans would react to the club if they went ahead with a proposal that went down so badly.
The decision was made the Tuesday before protests began outside Stamford Bridge.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, who is now the club’s technical director, urged fans to calm down during protests on Stamford Bridge
Earlier in the day, Johnson met with the Football Association, Premier League representatives, and fan representatives. Afterward, the government said it would take “all necessary measures,” including legislative options, to ensure the proposals stop.
A statement released after a meeting between the Premier League and the 14 non-participating clubs said they were “unanimously and vigorously” in opposition to plans for the competition.
It added that “all available actions” will be considered to stop the competition and urged the six teams to end their involvement immediately.
While England’s engagement was quickly reconsidered, there was no indication from the other six clubs from Spain and Italy – including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan – that they were considering doing so.
The real president Florentino Perez, who was named chairman of the ESL, said the competition was set up to “save football” because young people are “no longer interested in the game” because of “a lot of bad quality games”.
AC Milan General Manager Ivan Gazidis said ESL was “a new, exciting chapter for the game” and will provide “value and support” to all of European football.
In the meantime, Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo supported the ESL and the club owner Andrea Agnelli, who retired as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) after the Turin club signed for the new competition.
“He explained this project to us, he gave us great confidence, but the most important thing he told us is that we have to continue our work,” said Pirlo.
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin on BBC Radio 5 Live
I’m not even easily surprised – it didn’t look like Chelsea wanted to get on that train, but they didn’t want to be left behind at the station.
I don’t think these clubs were prepared for anything. This appears to be a complete panic from a number of clubs. I think this is the first break that falls and then we’re back to a sort of normalcy.
Chelsea wanted to move the stadium a few years ago, but the fans didn’t have it. Instead of pushing through, the club said “we were wrong”. They can change, they can adapt.
It’s gone now, dead in the water. It’s so big because without it the other clubs would look a bit silly now.