LONDON – Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal were six of the 12 clubs that signed up to the breakaway competition that guaranteed spots each year and billions of dollars for founding members.
Man City was the first to withdraw, followed by United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and finally Chelsea – just 48 hours after the Super League was first announced.
That leaves just six Spanish and Italian sides – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – still involved.
Manchester United announced the departure of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, and Arsenal apologised to fans for their “mistake”.
“As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League,” an Arsenal statement said.
“We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.”
The Super League said it would look at ways to rescue the venture, insisting: “The existing system does not work.”
“We shall consider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project,” a statement said.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he was “delighted” and the English Football Association also welcomed the withdrawals, praising fans for “their influential and unequivocal voice”.
Reigning European champions Bayern Munich and French giants Paris Saint-Germain both came out strongly opposed to the breakaway league.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson tweeted a statement on behalf of the squad, saying: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”
On a day of intense drama, Manchester United announced that Woodward would step down from his role at the end of 2021.
Earlier, Ceferin, addressing the owners, particularly of the Premier League teams involved, said there was still time for clubs to pull out.
“Some will say it is greed, some complete ignorance of England’s football culture,” he said. “There’s still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino issued a stark warning to the heavyweight clubs who had signed up to the ESL.
“It is our task to protect the European sports model, so if some elect to go their own way then they must live with the consequences of their choices,” Infantino said at UEFA’s congress in Switzerland.