European Super League founder says it 'cannot go on' after England's 'big six' pull out

21 April 2021, 10:24 | Updated: 21 April 2021, 11:45

European Super League founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has said that the league can longer go ahead after all six Premier League clubs withdrew
European Super League founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has said that the league can longer go ahead after all six Premier League clubs withdrew. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

European Super League founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has admitted plans can longer go ahead after all six Premier League clubs withdrew.

Manchester City and Chelsea announced their decisions to leave the controversial project on Tuesday evening - shortly followed by Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United - less than three days after it was announced.

Asked by Reuters if the project could go ahead without the Premier League clubs, Mr Agnelli said: "To be frank and honest no, evidently that is not the case."

Four out of the twelve original clubs remain signed up to the Super League, including Spanish giants Real Madrid - whose president Florentino Perez chairs the breakaway organisation - and Barcelona.

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LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid - a major player - decided to withdraw shortly after Mr Agnelli's comments, shortly followed by Serie A outfit Inter Milan.

In an interview shortly before the clubs announced their decision, he had said the tournament had a "100 per cent" chance of success.

"There is a blood pact among our clubs, we will press ahead," he claimed.

Clubs have spent Wednesday morning responding to the backlash sparked by proposals, which have left fans, players and managers furious.

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Liverpool's owner John W Henry issued a full apology to supporters, players and manager Jurgen Klopp, while the Chelsea Supporters' Trust has called for resignations from the club's board in the wake of the Super League U-turn.

"There is no place in our game for clandestine collusion, driven by opportunism, with such a blatant disregard for the history and integrity of our game. We hope we do not see similar behaviour or proposals in the future," the group said in a statement.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club "regret the anxiety and upset caused by the proposal" while Arsenal apologised for their "mistake" in signing up for the venture.

Managers of the breakaway clubs - including Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp - also made clear they had not been consulted over the decision to sign up to the Super League.

A statement from the League Managers Association said: "The views expressed with such clarity, consideration and passion over the last three days, by numerous clubs, managers, coaches, players and fans from all levels of the game, demonstrate that their collective voice matters, and that there must be a more unified and collaborative approach to decision-making on all important issues in the game."

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Football Supporters' Association condemned the behaviour of "the cabal of billionaire owners" and dismissed a "return to the status quo" as unacceptable.

It read: "Appeasement of football's richest clubs doesn't work. The vultures circle, they're always after more and they only get stronger when you feed their greed.

"This time the cabal of billionaire owners overplayed their hand and their rapacious appetite for more united an unprecedented array of opponents.

"Fans across the entire game, players, managers, pundits, clubs, leagues, football associations across the continent, politicians, Prime Ministers and governments. Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared their concerns.

"English club involvement in the Super League has collapsed and the concept itself teeters on the edge. At a continental level the FSA will continue to campaign with our friends at Football Supporters Europe to kill the competition for good. Agnelli's 'blood pact' has no place in football.

"The past 72 hours of white hot action and anger has killed domestic involvement in the Super League but that doesn't mean fans can take their foot off the accelerator - a return to the status quo is unacceptable and will only allow these unscrupulous owners to regroup."