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The European Super League was collapsing on Tuesday night after all six English clubs dramatically signalled their intention to withdraw from the competition after being taken aback by the furious backlash from fans and the government.

It left the £4.5bn league dead in the water less than 48 hours after it was launched, with Chelsea the first go to followed by Manchester City and then, shortly before 11pm, by Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham.

The stunning set of U-turns leaves the reputations of the clubs’ owners at an all-time low as they attempt to repair their relationship with supporters. Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, a key architect of the planned breakaway, also resigned after his position became untenable.

While most club statements blandly acknowledged their decision, Arsenal admitted the response from fans in recent days had given them “time for further reflection and deep thought”. In a statement, the club said: “It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.

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Some of the world's biggest football clubs have agreed to join a new European Super League (ESL) that will rival the current Champions League competition, one of the biggest club tournaments in world football.

While the new ESL won't replace domestic leagues like England's Premier League and Spain's La Liga, the clubs that compete in it face the threat of being kicked out of their domestic leagues by Europe's football governing body.
Why are these big clubs doing this?

Money seems to be the driving force. The ESL says it will result in a greater distribution of revenue throughout the game.

Football club revenues have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic with disrupted fixtures and lack of spectators. Big clubs have superstar players with multi-million pound salaries that need to be paid.

"The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model," said a joint statement released by the 12 founding clubs on Sunday.

The new annual European tournament "will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment," the statement added.

It is offering "uncapped solidarity payments" to European football which will grow in line with league revenues. ESL says these will be "substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10bn (£8.6bn)" during the early stages.

A statement from the new competition said: “AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.

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