The architects of the European Super League appeared to strike a defiant tone Tuesday, promising to “reshape the project” following the withdrawal of all six English clubs from the controversial breakaway competition.
The dramatic collapse of the multibillion-dollar league comes less than 48 hours after it was first launched, sparking a furious continent-wide backlash among football fans, players, sporting officials and senior government leaders.
According to a Super League statement, obtained by The Athletic and ESPN, organizers of the competition remain committed to the formation of a new league, though they appeared to acknowledge their initial proposal was no longer tenable. “(The) status quo of European football needs to change,” read the Super League statement, but that “given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project.”
CNN has reached out the Super League for comment and the full statement but has not heard back.
By Tuesday evening, all six English Premier League clubs had declared their intention to withdraw from the competition. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur confirmed in public statements that they will no longer participate, some citing feedback from fans and other stakeholders.
Initial plans for the closed league, which was to be financed by American investment bank JP Morgan, would have included the six English clubs alongside three teams from Italy – AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – and three from Spain – Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“I think this project has died today … and it is on the way to becoming a complete botch,” former Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon told CNN.
“I think it deserves it because it was a project destined to kill football. I think mainly at this time that we are living where many clubs are struggling to survive due to the economic problems from the pandemic, what football needs is unity, solidarity.”
The announcement of the league’s formation Sunday sent shock waves through the soccer world, prompting outrage and a rare show of political unity, with both the British government and its main opposition party vowing to support legislative action if necessary to protect the domestic game.
England’s Football Association, as well as European and world governing bodies UEFA and FIFA also threatened punitive measures and potential sanctions for the breakaway clubs.