The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust has issued a statement demanding a full and in-depth explanation from the club as to why they signed up for the proposed Super League, why they did not apologise after pulling out, and what the current positions of chairman Bruce Buck and CEO Guy Laurence are.
It was on Sunday night that the bomb was dropped. Chelsea, alongside eleven other top European sides, announced they were planning to form a breakaway competition in which their positions would be guaranteed season in, season out, as a founding member.
The news was met with outrage from supporters. Within the next 24 hours, it emerged that coaches and players and staff at the twelve clubs were not consulted and did not agree with the plans.
Prior to yesterday’s Premier League game against Brighton, around 1,000 Chelsea supporters protested outside of Stamford Bridge against the Super League.
Within two hours of the first members of the crowd arriving outside the stadium, football.london was told the Blues were preparing to pull out of the competition.
Due to the contest against the Seagulls, Chelsea didn’t post a statement until the early hours of this morning. They were, somewhat ironically, the last Premier League side to officially confirm their decision.
A brief statement on the club website read: “As reported earlier this evening, Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community.”
There has been no apology from Chelsea. No word from the club’s board. And that is something the Supporters’ Trust state must happen if trust is to be rebuilt.
Originally, the twelve breakaway clubs – Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid – planned to launch a European Super League to replace the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
The potential financial rewards were expected to be huge and there would be no qualification for the twelve ‘founding members’. Understandably, that was deemed unacceptable and the clubs involved were condemned by UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League and other football bodies, fans, players, politicians and other clubs.
Plans for the breakaway competition have since been suspended. A statement from the European Super League published late yesterday evening read: “The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change.
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“We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work. Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic. It would also provide materially enhanced solidarity payments to all football stakeholders.
“Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due (to) the pressure out (put) on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations as was demonstrated today by a court decision to protect the Super League from third party actions.
“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”