The highly controversial European Super League might be falling apart as quickly as it came together. After being announced only days ago as a breakaway league, the ESL has lost major supporters Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, and AC Milan. The ESL had drawn heavy criticism from some football fans and clubs, with all six major English football clubs pulling their support for the proposed breakaway league.
With only three of the original twelve clubs who planned to start the league still involved, it seems unlikely that the project can move forward. Without the six English teams, the leadership of the proposed league has suggested it is likely to not become a reality after all.
The sudden withdrawal of the six English teams from the proposed league came as the existing Premier League considered sanctioning the teams that had considered supporting the new competition. Both the UEFA and FIFA had also threatened that players who took part in the breakaway league could be barred from playing in official UEFA and FIFA competitions.
Juventus, the only Italian team remaining in the proposed league, issued a statement about the likely future of the project. “While remaining convinced of the validity of the sporting, commercial and legal premises of the project, Juventus believes that it currently has little chance of being completed in the form in which it was initially conceived,” the team stated.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are also still involved in the proposed breakaway league, but they have not issued a comment on the recent departure of Atletico Madrid. However, it seems unlikely they’ll maintain this silence: the ESL almost certainly can’t move forward with just three teams signed on as founding clubs.
Manchester City was the first English team to withdraw from the proposed league, stating in a brief release that they were formally quitting the project altogether. After Manchester City’s announcement, the other five English teams that had signed on to become founding clubs also backed out in short order.
Liverpool owner John Henry went on record to recognize the fan discontent with the proposed league. “It goes without saying but should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of fans,” Henry told Liverpool’s fanbase. “Over these 48 hours, you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you.”
Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson lauded the move, tweeting “I welcome last night’s announcement. This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country. We must continue to protect our cherished national game.”