Furious Russian billionaire pulls out of football mutilation in shame: Super League timeline
The madness started with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez claiming the Super League was the only solution to “save football”.
Then it was Fifa president Gianni Infantino, firing his warning shot to the rebel 12.
Then came three days of chaos.
By mid-morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was personally promising to bring the plot crashing down.
Then we heard Uefa chief Aleksander Ceferin urging the Premier League’s “dirty half dozen” to own up to their “mistake” and apologise to the fans who “bleed themselves dry” for their football clubs.
And that was just the start of football’s longest day, a battle for the soul of the game that ended with the bodies of the victims strewn over the Premier League clubs’ boardroom table, The Sun’s Martin Lipton reports.
Turning and fleeing like whipped little dogs, Manchester City and Chelsea have both claimed to have been the first English clubs to pull out of the doomed attempt to rip the heart of football.
City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham were part of 12 leading European clubs to sign up to the breakaway league on Monday (AEDT).
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Russian billionaire oligarch and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich speaking to David Beckham.Source:AFP
But reaction to the incendiary scheme was scathing, with politicians and football authorities threatening to take legal action against the so-called “dirty dozen” and potentially ban them from domestic leagues.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reported to have led the Blues’ charge out of the Super League after the severity of the blowback.
The Sun reports the Russian billionaire was “shocked to the core by how quickly everything had fallen apart” as a source told the publication he “had no idea that there would be such a backlash”.
He was also allegedly furious he hadn’t been warned about how harsh the reaction would be to the proposal.
The Guardian reported Ambramovich “took the first step” to remove Chelsea from the Super League by telling the club’s executive to begin drafting plans to pull out.
“This was a case of a man known for looking notably unimpressed by most things taking a look at the collapsing edifice around him and thinking: ‘Right, this is done’,” Barney Ronay wrote. Rumours swirled about Chelsea’s backflip, but City had already announced their withdrawal before Abramovich’s decision was made public.
Abramovich is valued at $4.2 billion and is a key figure in where English football sits right now. His take over of Chelsea in 2003 eventually led to Sheikh Mansour’s take over of Manchester City with both clubs pouring money into the sport, forcing Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and others to do the same.
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Football supporters demonstrate against the proposed European Super League outside of Stamford Bridge football stadium in London on April 20, 2021, ahead of the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton.Source:AFP
For the other clubs that joined the break-away plot, the shame and humiliation is multiplied by their decision to crawl back to the Premier League.
It was too much for Manchester United’s under-fire executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to survive with the club announcing he will leave the club.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is also among the figures to have been most mutilated by the scandal, after the group of 14 Premier League clubs remaining with the league passed on a message that the dirty six were “destroying” the game.
When the representative for the 14 remaining clubs spoke publicly about his conversation with Levy, there was no sympathy for the Tottenham boss’ contrition.
“We are all still seething at what has gone on. Every single one of us. There is no sympathy at all for Levy, or anyone else involved,” a source from within the group of 14 clubs told The Sun.
“They are the ones who put us in this position because of their greed.”
Within 48 hours of the first pawn being moved across the chess board, it was over, leaving just the victims. Some have just lost their reputations.
Others their pride. A few — with more to come — their jobs. But none of them have escaped uninjured.
And while City and Chelsea did the right thing first, the fans who laid siege outside Stamford Bridge and condemned the Etihad hierarchy they have so often rightly praised, will long remember.
Clubs explain wild backflip
What he said.Source:Getty Images
One by one, as the dominoes fell, English clubs explained why they were backing down.
In a statement, Manchester City 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.”
Manchester United said it had “listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders” while Liverpool said: “In recent days, the club has received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and we would like to thank them for their valuable contributions.”
Arsenal said what everybody was thinking. “We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought,” the Gunners’ statement said.
“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.”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy tried to justify why Spurs got involved in the first place.
“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” Levy said. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”
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