European Super League: Manchester City confirm withdrawal, Chelsea set to follow
London: Manchester City became the first of 12 breakaway clubs to withdraw from proposals for a European Super League (ESL) on Tuesday after a furious backlash against the controversial plan.
In a statement, the club 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."
Chelsea are also set to leave the controversial European Super League amid protests in London. Furious fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge to demonstrate against the proposed League ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Brighton on Tuesday.
City and Chelsea are two of 12 leading European clubs to have signed up to an incendiary scheme that has plunged football into civil war.
Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan are also involved in the competition, which would be run largely on an invitation-only basis.
Politicians and football authorities have condemned the “cynical” and “greedy” scheme. Amid threats of the clubs being kicked out of their domestic leagues and banned from the Champions League, fans have shown their disgust at the plan.
At least 1,000 supporters from different Premier League clubs put their traditional rivalries aside to gather in west London.
There were angry scenes as protesters spilt into the streets, stopping traffic around Stamford Bridge.
Fans held up signs reading: “RIP Football 1863 — 2021”, “Created by the poor, stolen by the rich”, “We want our cold nights in Stoke” and “Roman do the right thing” — in reference to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Fans outside the stadium gates chanted “We want our Chelsea back” and “You know what you are”.
But now City and Chelsea could be about to perform a U-turn, bow to fan pressure and withdraw from the controversial competition.
Meanwhile, Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has quit the club amid the chaos, according to reports.
It has also been reported Barcelona’s participation would be conditional on the Liga club’s members voting in favour of the proposal, according to Spanish media reports.
Catalan television station TV3 reported that the contract Barca president Joan Laporta signed with the other 11 founding member clubs included a clause that allowed the club to back out of the agreement should its members not agree.
The report added Laporta met Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman on Tuesday to explain the club’s position on the Super League and has arranged to speak with club captains Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto on Wednesday.