European Super League: Boris Johnson says English clubs’ decision to withdraw from project the ‘right result for football fans’

Nicholas Cecil
·3 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Boris Johnson today hailed the decision of English clubs to pull out of the European Super League as “the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country”.

He also stressed the need to carry on protecting “our cherished national game”.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal last night followed Chelsea and Manchester City in walking away from the ESL.

The Prime Minister tweeted this morning: “I welcome last night’s announcement. This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country. We must continue to protect our cherished national game.”

The ESL said it would reconsider “the most appropriate steps” to reshape the breakaway tournament but this morning the project appears to be in tatters.

The English clubs pulled out after a furious backlash from fans, MPs and ministers, with the Government threatening legal action to block the ESL.

Chelsea and Manchester City were also warned they could be kicked out of the ongoing Champions League.

Those behind the Super League said it had proposed the new league “because the existing system does not work”.

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“Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure put on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations as was demonstrated today by a court decision to protect the Super League from third party actions,” the league added in its statement.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

The English clubs’ exits came swiftly after proposals for the new league were revealed on Sunday evening, triggering a wave of criticism from the football community as well as politicians.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously warned he was prepared to legislate to block the new league plans, accusing breakaway football clubs of forming “a kind of cartel”.

Tom Greatrex, the vice-chair of the Football Supporters’ Association, earlier told the PA news agency: “It’s a spectacular miscalculation (by the clubs involved).

“If this was an attempt to gain leverage, I think they underestimated the collective will of those who love football, play football and are involved in football and assumed wrongly that that could be overridden by financial interests.”

In a statement issued before most clubs had announced their intention to quit the new league, the Football Association (FA) welcomed the news that some clubs were withdrawing their support, highlighting that “the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league”.

It said the proposals “could have divided our game; but instead, it has unified us all”.

The FA’s statement added: “We would like to thanks the fans in particular for their influential and unequivocal voice during this time, holding true the guiding principles of football. It is a powerful reminder that the game is, and always will be, for fans.”

Additional reporting by PA

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