Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, All EPL Teams Withdraw from Super League

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2021

A banner is seen outside Liverpool's Anfield Stadium protesting the formation of the European Super League, Liverpool, England, Monday, April 19, 2021. Players at the 12 clubs setting up their own Super League could be banned from this year's European Championship and next year's World Cup, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said Monday. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

The four remaining Premier League clubs in the European Super League—Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham—all announced Tuesday they were withdrawing from the competition. 

That followed a statement from Manchester City earlier in the day, announcing its withdrawal from the Super League. Chelsea was the first club rumored to leave and is reportedly expected to back out of the competition. 

Italian club AC Milan is also dropping out, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic.

Arsenal apologized in its 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. 

"As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it."

The expectation is that Super League clubs will be welcomed back into UEFA once they leave the breakaway competition. 

"I am delighted to welcome Manchester City back to the European football family," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement earlier on Tuesday after City announced they were leaving the Super League. "They have shown great intelligence. City are a real asset for the game and I am delighted to be working with them for a better future."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Super League was a proposed 20-team league with 15 founding members—the six aforementioned Premier League clubs, along with AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and three teams to be named later—that would have allowed for those founders to remain in the league every year, with five clubs to be rotated in on a yearly basis. 

The idea was for it to be a midweek competition, essentially replacing Champions League football for the founding clubs, albeit with guaranteed spots and an enormous cash influx in the process. Those clubs did not intend to exit from their domestic leagues, however. 

They faced immediate pushback from UEFA, FIFA, the domestic leagues in question and fans around the globe.

UEFA threatened to ban them from all of its club competitions—which included threats to kick Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester City from this year's Champions League semifinals and Arsenal and Man United from the Europa League semis—and players on those clubs from participating in international competitions like the Euros and perhaps even the World Cup, though FIFA never officially made that threat itself. 

Detractors of the Super League argued that merit should determine a club's top spot in a lucrative competition, not its current wealth and brand. They argued such a league would only further widen the gap between the financial haves and have-nots of the sport. 

Real Madrid president and Super League chairman Florentino Perez countered that such a league with the biggest global brands in the sport would offer a much-needed change. 

"Today, with the income from the Champions League as it is, we'll die," Perez said on Spanish talk show El Chiringuito (h/t Alex Kirkland of ESPN). "Less audience, less money. We'll all die, the big clubs, the medium-size clubs, the small clubs. They say the new Champions League format will come in by 2024, we'll be dead by then."

Instead, it is the Super League that now appears to be dead.