ESL Suspended: The Quick Rise And Even Quicker Fall Of The Breakaway Football League
The European Super League was suspended in the late hours of Tuesday night, following the withdrawal of all six English ‘founding members’ – Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hostpur – from the breakaway competition.
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An official statement released by the ESL suggests that the English clubs were ‘forced to take such a decision due to the pressure [put] on them.’ It continues to argue though that the ESL proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations.
“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments.”
#SuperLeague has been officially SUSPENDED
– English clubs have left (Chelsea too, official soon).
– Inter have left, AC Milan are set to leave.
– Juventus and Spanish clubs: waiting for official position.
The whole #SuperLeague has been stopped to “reshape the project”.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 20, 2021
Reports suggest that Inter Milan are no longer interested in the ESL either, while the remaining five clubs – including Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona (decision based on their socios), Atletico Madrid (likely to leave) and AC Milan (almost confirmed to leave) – are also going to go back over the initial bid.
In case you’re unaware of the dramatic ESL developments earlier, here’s our roundup from Tuesday: Explaining The European Football Turmoil To A Layperson: Is This The End Of The ‘Beautiful Game’?
What transpired overnight?
Following a meeting between the 14 English Premier League clubs, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told BBC on Tuesday night that their first step is to back the football authorities. The league [ESL] is not in the interest of the fans and football, he said.
“We will seek a legislative solution but we hope that they can find a way forward themselves.”
— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) April 20, 2021
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) April 20, 2021
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 20, 2021
In the following hours, voices from within the Chelsea and Manchester City camps about their exit from the ESL grew louder. Simultaneously, senior EPL players like Man City talisman Kevin De Bruyne, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Man United’s current player of the month Luke Shaw issued heartfelt statements condemning the ESL.
Chelsea and Manchester United trigger collapse
The pressure had been mounting on the ESL when widespread reports of Chelsea’s exit gathered momentum on Tuesday evening. Chelsea fans gathered in huge numbers outside Stamford Bridge in wake of this developing story.
The news report of Chelsea’s withdrawal from the European Super League has reached the fans outside Stamford Bridge who were protesting pic.twitter.com/231CXhM5Fy
— (@TheEuropeanLad) April 20, 2021
The first cracks appeared when Man United chief executive, and one of the architects of the ESL, Ed Woodward announced his resignation from the club, which will come into effect at the end of the current season.
The club owners maintained that it had nothing to do with the outrage over the Super League’s declaration, but the timing of the resignation was still suspect. Reports suggest that club captain Harry Maguire and midfielder Bruno Fernandes had threatened Woodward with unprecedented action if the Glazers didn’t pull out from the ESL, earlier on Tuesday.
Chelsea fans after hearing the club was withdrawing from the Super League pic.twitter.com/cGOfilk8Xm
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 20, 2021
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 20, 2021
Soon, Manchester City issued a statement announcing their withdrawal from the ESL, following Chelsea’s exit. Chelsea were one of the first English clubs to acknowledge the fan response against the ESL. Manchester United then followed suit.
We will not be participating in the European Super League.#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 20, 2021
“We have listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders,” the official Man United press release said.
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All six English clubs then officially withdrew from the ESL as a collective, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The process to withdraw has just begun after the reactions of fans, managers and players, according to football journalist Fabrizio Romano.
Real Madrid top boss and ESL chairman Florentino Perez was due to appear on a television channel on Tuesday night, but had to postpone his address in wake of the English clubs’ withdrawal.
It is being said that Perez and the ESL are planning to file a lawsuit against the English clubs.
“We can 100 percent say, at the moment, all the situations of the boards of the clubs, will be in danger. They were going fully convinced on the Super League, and now in 48 hours they are in a completely different situation,” said Romano on his Instagram account, after the ESL’s suspension.
— United Journal (@theutdjournal) April 20, 2021
Former Man United player and Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, who was has been one of the most vocal voices against the ESL, urged for ownership reforms following the events of Tuesday night.
“We have to work hard together to ensure ownership rules in this country are changed, that we have a system whereby this [Super League] can’t happen, whether that’s government intervention, independent regulation, fan-owned club rule. Whatever it is.”
— utdreport (@utdreport) April 20, 2021
Next steps, according to Liverpool and Manchester united fans, are to chase away the billionaire owners who plotted this rebel league. Ed Woodward is the chunk of the tree; we now need to go for the roots, said Neville. “Jamie Carragher talked about FSG having no place in Liverpool. The Glazers have no place in Manchester anymore,” he said.
This is a continuously developing news story. We will be back with further updates.