UPDATED 4/20/21, 7:00 p.m. ET: Yet more names have been added to the list of clubs withdrawing from the league, with that group now including: Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur. Those organizations confirmed as much on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day it was reported that Chelsea, Manchester City, and Atlético Madrid would be pulling out as well.
Man City was the first to announce a decision. In a brief statement they said: “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.”
Shortly after that Arsenal released a statement. “It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future,” it said.
Adding to that in concise fashion, Liverpool said its involvement is “discontinued,” Man U announced an intent to withdraw, and Tottenham announced it wouldn’t participate.
Also Chelsea hasn’t yet put out an official statement on the matter, but news that they were out as well was confirmed by the BBC and ESPN.
UPDATED 4/20/21, 1:58 p.m. ET: According to BBC News sports editor Dan Roan, Chelsea are planning to request a withdrawal from the European Super League just days after the bombshell reveal and subsequent criticism of the team’s participation.
Martin Lipton of The Sun has reported that Manchester City is withdrawing from the Super League as well.
According to reporter Ben Jacobs, Atletico Madrid is also pulling out of the league, as Jacob tweeted, “Senior sources at Atletico Madrid tell me they are OUT, too.”
UPDATED 4/19/21, 9:50 p.m. ET: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin reiterated on Monday that UEFA is seeking legal action to ban Super League clubs from participating in competitions this season.
“We’re still assessing with our legal team but we will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon we can,” Ceferin said via US News. “My opinion is that as soon as possible they have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from all our competitions.”
See original story from 4/18/21 below.
UEFA released a joint statement with FIFA and a number of top European leagues condemning the creation of a Super League, and threatening to take action in the form of banning participating clubs and its players from future competitions, including the World Cup.
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” the statement reads.
This statement arrives after the UK newspaper The Times reported that at least 11 European clubs had already agreed to join the Super League. Manchester United, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, and Barcelona were among the noteworthy clubs attached to this new 20-team league financed by the U.S.-based investment bank J.P. Morgan for $6 billion.
Talk of the European Super League comes a day before UEFA was set to approve an expansion to its Champions League format to 36 teams, and alterations to its revenue distribution, which includes a bigger portion of the prize money going to the bigger clubs. The latter issue appears to be the driving force behind the Super League discussion, as these breakaway clubs believe they are the ones bringing in exponentially more money than the smaller teams, and want a bigger piece of the pie.
UEFA is willing to do whatever it takes to quell the momentum of the Super League since losing these clubs would be a huge financial blow to its biggest annual competition, the Champions League. UEFA has threatened to ban players from these breakaway clubs from being able to compete in other tournaments, leagues, and most importantly, the World Cup.
Florentino Perez, chairman of the Super League, scoffed at the idea of losing out playing in the World Cup, saying, “If the players participating in the European Super League are banned from playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, we will create our own World Cup tournament. It is not a big deal.”
UEFA said it is prepared to take this matter to court. Or, it could re-engage with the Super League since the door to a resolution seems to still be open just a bit, and work out a deal that allows the bigger clubs to earn what they feel they rightfully deserve. Or, UEFA could move forward with their plan to approve the Champions League changes that were agreed upon Friday, and see if these Super League clubs cave under the pressure from their own fans, and former greats.
While it appears UEFA has a lot to lose by allowing these top-tier clubs to leave, these teams are playing a dangerous game with their own fans, who haven’t been too receptive to changing the decades-long status quo, and see that their motives as entirely rooted in money.