Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City became the first teams to withdraw from the planned breakaway European Super League.
Both clubs were initially part of the 12 teams who announced plans to form a European Super League that will rival the Champions League and were met with criticism from UEFA, FIFA, and other football authorities as well as world leaders.
BREAKING: Chelsea are preparing to withdraw from the European Super League, confirms @jamesbenge pic.twitter.com/y1BKSDr43k
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) April 20, 2021
Manchester City pulling out of Super League. City have told organisers they no longer want to be part of the £4.6billion scheme. Full details coming @SunSport @TheSunFootball @TheSun
— Martin Lipton (@MartinLipton) April 20, 2021
With Chelsea and Manchester City’s departure, that leaves Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Liverpool as the only Premier League clubs that are part of the original members of the Super League. They are joined by La Liga’s Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid and Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan from Serie A. With the departure of these two clubs, the pressure mounts for the other 10 teams remaining as they face the possibility of bans from World Cups and other European Championships.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea’s chairman Bruce Buck had met with the club’s players and staff regarding the proposals. Meanwhile, the team’s fans staged protests outside Stamford Bridge before their match against Brighton in the Premier League.
It was earlier reported that both teams were wavering in their decision to join the Super League as the breakaway clubs faced pressure from football authorities. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that the clubs cannot be “half-in, half-out,” referring to the teams playing in their domestic leagues while playing in a rival tournament instead of the Champions League and warned of consequences for the teams.
Another recently added to the growing criticism of the breakaway league is International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, while political leaders such as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have also criticized the potential league.
With Chelsea and Manchester City bowing out, this is the first important step to the Super League being axed altogether.