Chelsea set to withdraw from European Super League


Chelsea fans protest against the Super League (Getty Images)

Chelsea are set to become the first club to withdraw from the planned European Super League with Manchester City set to follow.

The Blues were one of a dozen leading European clubs to commit on Sunday to being part of a new breakaway competition they hoped would rival the Champions League.

But the move has come in for almost universal condemnation with supporter groups, football figures and politicians all voicing their opposition to the proposal.

Reporting of the news was greeted with scenes of jubilant celebration by thousands of fans initially gathered to protest outside Stamford Bridge.

After careful consideration over the course of a fractious 72 hours, officials at the club felt such a “toxic endeavour” ran contrary to various social and communty campaigns the club had run – from racism to anti-semitism to work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was felt that the project would have a reputational effect on the club as well as the owner Roman Abramovich.

Officials at other clubs have also had doubts about the substance of the project, and the rushed nature it has been put together.

The Independent has been told there are similar doubts within two of the Spanish clubs.

The Premier League had earlier confirmed they were “considering all actions” against the six English clubs who intended to join the competition after a meeting of the other 14 clubs on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who met with the Premier League as well as The FA earlier on Tuesday, had vowed to use “a legislative bomb” to stop what he called an “anti-competitive” proposal.

It is understood Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has organised an emergency meeting of Premier League captains to discuss their own next step as the fallout from Sunday’s bombshell announcement continues.

The proposal – which also involves the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – has met with almost universal condemnation with supporter groups and football figures such as Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher all voicing strong criticism.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also offered his disapproval on Tuesday afternoon describing the plans as “not sport”.

“A few hours before a statement was released they told me. No-one speaks clearly with more details about what they are going to create,” he said in a press conference.

“We are not the right people to answer these questions. We don’t have all the information with (club) presidents do. I support by club.

“Sport is not a sport when the relationship between effort and success does not exist. It is not a sport if you can’t lose. It’s not fair if a team fights to get to the top and success is only guaranteed for some clubs.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp expressed his own concerns on Monday evening.

“My feelings didn’t change. My opinion didn’t change,” he said ahead of the Premier League game with Leeds United. “I heard for the first time about it yesterday. I was trying to prepare for a difficult game.

“We got some information, not a lot. Most of the things in the newspapers. It’s a tough one. People are not happy with it, I can understand it.

“I can’t say a lot more because we were not involved in the process – not the players, not me – we didn’t know about it. We will have to wait how it develops.”

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the first chairman of The Super League, defended the venture insisting the clubs involved have proposed it to “save football” but those plans could now be in tatters.

“We’re doing this to save football, which is in a critical moment,” he said on Spanish television on Monday night.

“The important clubs in England, Italy, and Spain must find a solution to a very bad situation that football is going through.

“The only way of making money from admissions is by making more competitive games that are more attractive, that fans around the world can see.”

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