European Super League Officially Suspended As All Six English Withdraw From the Venture

 The reviled European Super League was officially suspended on Tuesday night as all six English clubs formally withdrew from the ill-fated venture.

On another dramatic night when Chelsea fans staged a mass protest outside Stamford Bridge before their Premier League clash with Brighton, City and Chelsea began the process of killing off the rebel league less than 48 hours after its launch by pulling out late in the afternoon, putting huge pressure on the other 10 founder members to follow suit, as they held crisis talks over their exit strategies.

No sooner had they thrown in the towel than Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, one of the architects of the new rebel movement, sensationally announced his resignation. And, before the night was through, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham had followed suit.

A statement from the League then followed, in which it confirmed it 'shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project'.  

The match, which ended goalless but was almost an irrelevance, was delayed after hundreds of fans protested about their club’s involvement outside Stamford Bridge. The astonishing developments appeared to kill off the planned new league at birth, with strong indications from Spain on Tuesday night that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were also quitting.

The former Arsenal manager believes the English sides could have 'destroyed the Premier League'.

Sportsmail has learned that all the clubs could face financial penalties for pulling out as the ESL contract signed last week contained clauses committing them for at least three years. Yet all concluded that taking an economic hit was a price worth paying for limiting the reputational damage.

They may be too late for that. Chelsea and City were never fully convinced and felt railroaded after being presented with a ‘take-it-or-leave it’ offer last Thursday.

Pep Guardiola was fuming about the ESL plans on Tuesday before it was announced his club was pulling out. ‘It is not a sport if success is already guaranteed,’ the City boss said. 

‘When it doesn’t matter whether you lose, when the relation between effort and reward does not exist. It’s business, it’s money. It is not fair. You have to play the competitions that you deserve to play. 

A backlash from fans saw hundreds withdraw memberships, a tiny allocation for Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final go unsold and anti-ESL banners placed outside the Etihad.

Both Mansour and Abramovich have spent heavily since buying their respective clubs and unlike other members of the Big Six, have no external debts, a major factor for the other clubs who signed up hoping for a huge increase in revenues.

Furious discussions took place at both clubs over unilateral decisions made to join without the knowledge of executive teams, with some directors feeling sidelined.

The incredible events vindicate the stance taken by the rest of the Premier League, who in a meeting of the other 14 clubs on Tuesday opted to lobby the rebels into pulling out of the ESL rather than punishing them immediately.

UEFA were also celebrating a huge victory on Tuesday night, with the speed of the rebels’ collapse obliterating any leverage they might have had in opposing the governing body’s planned Champions League reforms.  

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