THE European Super League lies in tatters this evening as Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and City all quit on a dramatic evening.
The FA, Uefa and Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined in the chorus of joy as ESL plans crumbled, while United confirmed executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is QUITTING “at the end of 2021”.
Manchester City have QUIT the European Super League after a massive backlashCredit: Getty
Chelsea fans protested outside Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and their club are set to pull outCredit: AFP
It is also believed that Atletico Madrid have pulled out of the 12-club rebel league, while Barcelona have said they will put the proposal to their fans before deciding.
City were the first club to officially pull the plug, with Chelsea following suit as their stars were preparing to face Brighton.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham then joined United in completing the exodus with coordinated statements at 11pm this evening.
Old Trafford legend Gary Neville urged United to boot out all the executives involved in the ESL plotting.
Nev told Sky: “Ed Woodward is the trunk of the tree, now it’s time to get the roots out…the Glazers have no place in Manchester United.
“Every single exec who sits at the table, they need throwing out of that club, he knew his time in football was finished.”
But in a statement on the Red Devils’ official website, Woodward made no mention of the ESL as he said: “I am extremely proud to have served United.
“And it has been an honour to work for the world’s greatest football club for the past 16 years.
“The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.
“I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club’s culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.”
MORE ON SUPER LEAGUE OUTRAGE
Man Utd bigwig Ed Woodward released a goodbye statement on their website but made no mention of the European Super LeagueCredit: EPA
United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “Ed Woodward has served the club with great distinction. On behalf of everyone at United I would like to place on record our sincere thanks for his tireless work and dedication.
“His contribution to the club has been massive, and he will always be welcome at Old Trafford as a part of the Manchester United family.”
In what will be a potentially fatal blow to the £4.6billion scheme, Man City chiefs decided they could no longer be party to the plans that have rocked football to its very foundations.
And in a brief statement, the club confirmed: “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.”
Ecstatic Etihad superstar Kevin De Bruyne reacted with an emotional post attaxcking the EFL’s concept of no relegation.
He posted: “This man comes out of a little town out of Belgium dreaming of playing at the highest stage possible.
“I’ve worked and competed against everybody trying to win the ultimate.
“But the most important word is COMPETING.
“Let’s keep inspiring the next generation of footballers and keep the fans dreaming.”
And Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed City “back to the European football family”.
Ceferin added: “They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices – most notably their fans – that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football – from the world-beating Champions League final right down to a young player’s first coaching session at a grassroots club.
“As I said at the Uefa Congress, it takes courage to admit a mistake but I have never doubted that they had the ability and common sense to make that decision.”
The FA claimed the clubs’ U-turn could now “unify the game – after it “threatened the whole pyramid”.
And their statement added: “We welcome the news that some of the clubs have decided to abandon the plans…
Chelsea legend Petr Cech pleaded with protesting fans outside Stamford BridgeCredit: Reuters
Fans demonstrated outside Stamford Bridge – and later cheered as Chelsea prepared for a U-turnCredit: Alamy
“English football has a proud history based on opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed shop.”
City were the last of the initial six Prem clubs and the 12th in all to sign up to a plan hatched by Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United and funded by US investment giant JP Morgan.
Like Chelsea, who are in the process of preparing their withdrawal documents, the Etihad outfit were understood to feel they had no option other than to join the breakaway.
That was despite both clubs’ hierarchies harbouring doubts over the project.
But the fear of missing out on a huge tranche of the initial £3bn joining pot and minimum £130m per year on offer saw both clubs take a bite out of the carrot.
City and Co were also slammed by their Prem rivals, with the League, FA and Government lining up to vow the clubs would simply not be allowed to walk away and join the elite cartel clubs.
And Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is furious at reportedly being “blind-sided” by the overwhelming backlash.
An extra blow to the crumbling project came from Barcelona, who announced they would not join the Super League unless there was a vote of members to approve the move.
President Joan Laporta said: “Barcelona will NOT join the Super League until our socios (fan members) vote for it. It’s their club, so it’s their decision.”
As the news broke, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely the right one and I commend them for it.
“I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”
The European Super League was announced on Sunday night and met with a furious backlash from fans, players and authorities.
The Sun reported earlier today how three Prem teams that signed up were considering pulling out.
A massive fan backlash is believed to be one of the major factors behind half of the six Premier League teams involved having second thoughts.
In total, 12 European teams have announced the setting up of a new franchise league in which they will be free of relegation fears.
Bild claimed there could be as many as three Premier League clubs getting cold feet and that if they break ranks it will bring the whole idea crashing down before it even gets going.
The remaining 14 top-flight clubs met today to discuss how to fight back against the proposals and how they will challenge the six rebels.
A Premier League statement said: “The Premier League, alongside The FA, met with clubs today to discuss the immediate implications of the Super League proposal.
“The 14 clubs at the meeting unanimously and vigorously rejected the plans for the competition.
“The Premier League is considering all actions available to prevent it from progressing, as well as holding those Shareholders involved to account under its rules.
“The League will continue to work with key stakeholders including fan groups, Government, Uefa, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA to protect the best interests of the game and call on those clubs involved in the proposed competition to cease their involvement immediately.
“The Premier League would like to thank fans and all stakeholders for the support they have shown this week on this significant issue. The reaction proves just how much our open pyramid and football community means to people.”
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