European Super League a ‘spectacular miscalculation’ by Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs, say FSA

Setting up a breakaway Super League was a “spectacular miscalculation” by Europe’s heavyweight clubs, according to a fans’ chief.

Manchester City were the first of the 12 founder members announced on Sunday night to say they had begun the process to withdraw from the controversial competition, with Chelsea understood to be preparing to do the same.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, one of the key orchestrators of the breakaway, has also announced he is leaving the club at the end of the year on a dramatic night.

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It follows two days of condemnation from governing bodies, leagues, clubs, players, managers and supporters, and should the project collapse completely, it would appear to weaken the bargaining position of big clubs.

Ed Woodward is understood to have resigned (Picture: PA)Ed Woodward is understood to have resigned (Picture: PA)
Ed Woodward is understood to have resigned (Picture: PA)

The threat of a breakaway has been a present danger or threat for the last 30 years, but should the project fail, as seems likely, that threat is hugely diminished.

Tom Greatrex, the vice-chairman of the Football Supporters’ Association, said: “It’s a spectacular miscalculation.

“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.

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“The impression is that the Super League project is in terminal trouble before it’s even begun.

“If you ever wanted an example for how those that don’t understand or appreciate the game can be defeated and can be chastened by the collective opinion, will and action of supporters, players and managers, and all those that love football, that’s what we’ve seen over the last 24 hours.”

The Super League announcement triggered the Government to bring forward its promised fan-led review of governance in English football, which will still go ahead even if the project falls apart.

“The work that Tracey Crouch’s review is undertaking is the next step in having sensible and sustainable football for the future,” added Greatrex.

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“This episode demonstrates that fans love their clubs but they’re not going to be walked over, and treated as though their views don’t matter.”

Chelsea fans protested about their club’s involvement ahead of the Premier League match against Brighton.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) described the club’s reported withdrawal from the European Super League as “a victory for the supporters” and claimed the positions of several board members are now “untenable”.

A statement on Twitter read: “Enough is enough.

“Tonight, the fans said NO. We demanded that we were listened to, we demanded that we were heard, and we demanded that the club that we all love was not sold for greed and self-interest. Whilst, we await official confirmation, it is likely that CFC will withdraw from the ‘Super League’.

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“This is a victory for the supporters. We did this together. The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) is unashamedly proud of its members across the globe. We shouted and they has to listen. The position of a number of the CFC board is now untenable and the CST will continue to push for what is right.

“The CST board is proud of our members and supporters. Together we are stronger.

“This is our club and that will never change.”

A City statement read: “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.”

Further reports suggested Atletico Madrid and Barcelona were on the brink of pulling out.

Football united: Page 22

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