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European Super League: Arsenal and Tottenham under pressure as Man City withdraw and Chelsea prepare to follow

Dan Kilpatrick
·3-min read
 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Pressure was mounting on the remaining European Super League clubs, including London pair Arsenal and Tottenham, to show their hand on Tuesday night after Chelsea and Manchester City broke ranks by withdrawing from the competition, sending the plans into disarray.

City became the first club to officially confirm their plans to withdraw in a statement on Tuesday that read: “Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”

With Manchester United executive chairman Ed Woodward set to step down following a fierce backlash to the proposals and reports in Spain that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were also preparing to withdraw, the football world was watching to see if the remaining 10 clubs would act.

Following a slew of official condemnations, ranging from supporters' groups to the UK Prime Minister, Chelsea and City began preparing paperwork to withdraw from the Super League on Tuesday evening, less than 48 hours after they were among 12 European clubs to rock the sport by announcing the breakaway. Manchester United are also expected to follow suit.

The UK government began drawing up new laws to govern football ownership as a result of the announcement, and Woodward was not expected to be the only executive at the 'dirty dozen' clubs to consider his position as the crisis unfolded at a relentless pace.

The 10 remaining clubs – including Arsenal, Tottenham, United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Internazionale and Juventus – were yet to make a move in the immediate wake of the Chelsea and City withdrawals but it is thought a meeting of the 12 was set for Tuesday night.

Chelsea's decision to pull out came after hundreds of fans gathered in protest outside Stamford Bridge ahead of their Premier League match against Brighton on Tuesday.

As news broke of the club's new stance, anger turned to celebration.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, in consultation with the board, was said to have ordered the club to prepare paperwork for the withdrawal, having never been entirely comfortable with the Super League idea.

Senior players at Man United, Liverpool and Man City have all expressed concern at the plans, which have been criticised by Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, the head-coach at Anfield and the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool players came out in unison on social media on Tuesday to express opposition to the Super League but reaffirm their commitment to the club and its fans.

There has been no word from any of the executives at the 'big six' English clubs since Sunday's announcement.

Tottenham interim head-coach Ryan Mason insisted on Tuesday afternoon that he did not know enough about the plans to be in a position to comment while facing the media in his first Zoom press conference since replacing Jose Mourinho.

Arsenal's supporters' trust was staging their annual AGM over Zoom on Tuesday night where fans were expected to express the strongest possible opposition to the Super League.

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