European Super League: Chelsea and Manchester City preparing to withdraw from proposed competition


Breaking news

Chelsea and Manchester City are preparing to withdraw from the European Super League (ESL).

Efforts to leave come just two days after both were announced as two of six English clubs to sign up to the controversial new competition.

The ESL has been widely criticised since being announced on Sunday.

Around 1,000 fans gathered outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home ground before their game against Brighton on Tuesday to protest their involvement.

Chelsea and City were part of English football’s ‘big six’ clubs – alongside Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham – to have agreed to join the new league.

In total, 12 European clubs announced their intentions to form the breakaway league, which they hoped to establish as a new midweek competition.

It was condemned by football authorities and government ministers in the UK and across Europe by Uefa and leagues associations.

Chelsea were the first club to indicate they will not press ahead with plans and City followed soon after.

Chelsea and City were not drivers of this plan, they were the last to sign and feared being left behind.

It is not clear how easy it is or how binding the contracts are.

Clearly something changed on Tuesday, whether it was the backlash, the worldwide condemnation, the political pressure or whether the players have have had their say.

Analysis

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin on BBC Radio 5 Live

I’m not even mildly surprised – it didn’t look like Chelsea wanted to get on that train but they didn’t want to be left at the station.

I don’t think these clubs were prepared for anything. This seems like utter panic from a set of clubs. I think this is the first break that falls and then we are back into something like normality.

Chelsea wanted to move stadium a few years ago, fans weren’t having it. The club instead of pushing it through said ‘we were wrong’. They can change, they can adapt.

It’s gone now, dead in the water. It is that big because the other clubs would look a bit silly without them now.

More to follow.

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