The European Super League is in tatters after Manchester City withdrew and Chelsea began preparing their departure – less than 48 hours after becoming founding members.
The tournament now appears on the verge of collapse, with other clubs reported to be considering their options.
Fans celebrated outside Stamford Bridge after hearing the news, ending an earlier protest that had seen them block their team bus from entering the stadium prior to their match with Brighton.
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News broke shortly afterwards that City were ditching the breakaway tournament, which has sparked a huge backlash and united football fans across the continent, before Atletico Madrid apparently cooled their involvement too. However, conflicting reports emerged from Spain later on Tuesday claiming Atletico and Barcelona were still committed to the project.
- ‘Not a sport’ – Guardiola cut short by City after slamming Super League
- ‘The clubs must go’ – UEFA chief expects Real, Chelsea and City to be booted out of CL
The news followed reports that the Blues and City were “wavering” over the plans.
The pair, along with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, had joined giants from Italy and Spain to launch a new midweek competition that would go head-to-head with the Champions League.
The ESL had hoped it would launch “as soon as practicable” – but that now appears to be a pipedream.
Earlier on Tuesday, a host of top European teams – including last season’s Champions League finalists PSG and Bayern Munich – said they had no interest in a Super League.
The competition planned for 15 founding members to appear each season alongside five teams who qualified. There was a £3 billion pay packet and no relegation for founding members, fuelling accusations of a closed shop.
UEFA had previously warned it may impose sanctions against clubs and players involved in the breakaway.
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