Following the withdrawal of the six English clubs who had signed up to the controversial European Super League, players, pundits, and fans hailed it as a “beautiful day for football.”
The Super League said it would “reconsider” its next steps after being reduced to three teams each from Spain and Italy on Tuesday, following a barrage of protests and threats of sanctions from the game’s European and world governing bodies.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher declared the competition dead in the water amid reports that Inter Milan and AC Milan had also pulled out.
“Super League is finished! Well done to all fans up & down the country!” he said on social media.
Manchester City were the first to pull out of the partnership, followed by Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea.
“What a beautiful day for football. Let’s keep playing, let’s keep fighting, let’s keep dreaming,” said Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy.
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was the first to fall victim to the backlash, announcing his resignation just as his club was about to abandon a project he had helped bring about.
Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand, who has been a vocal opponent of the breakaway competition since its inception, believes the teams are finally coming to their senses.
“Teams finally seeing sense and pulling out of the #SuperLeague … Football is and ALWAYS will be about the fans,” he said on social media.
“The fans have obviously not been a consideration at all … disgrace.”
‘WE SAVED FOOTBALL’
To protest the breakaway league, a large crowd gathered outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium ahead of their Premier League match against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Following reports that Chelsea was abandoning the project, they began chanting, “We saved football!”
The Football Association applauded the six English clubs’ withdrawals, claiming that the Super League had “threatened the entire pyramid.”
“English football has a proud history of opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league,” the FA said.
“It was a position that, by design, could have divided our game, but instead, it has unified us all.”
The Super League’s threat of a split in the game, as well as the strong feelings it sparked, prompted political leaders across Europe to speak out, and in some cases, threaten intervention.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, said his government would consider passing legislation to prevent the breakaway, comparing the plans to the formation of a cartel.
There is still a lot of rage directed at the owners of the six English clubs, with some pundits claiming that their leadership is no longer tenable.
Graeme Souness, a former Liverpool player, said that despite the U-turns, fans would not forgive them.
“They have been shown to sell their soul, basically,” the Sky Sports pundit said.
“They were going to sell the souls of our major institutions. They were selling their souls for quick money. Our supporters will not forgive them. We are not America.”
Source: Channel News Asia