The breakaway European Super League is all but finished, with its founder saying the new competition can no longer continue.
- Twelve of Europe’s biggest football clubs announced on Sunday they would form their own league
- Following heavy criticism, the six English clubs to be part of the new league announced their withdrawal
- The project is now no longer viable, according to its head, Andrea Agnelli
Andrea Agnelli, who is also chairman of Italian side Juventus, blamed the league’s downfall on politicians’ involvement.
Twelve of Europe’s leading soccer clubs from England, Italy and Spain announced a breakaway league on Sunday but after 48 hours of intense criticism from fans and politicians, the six English clubs backed out on Tuesday.
Spanish side Atletico Madrid also announced it would no longer be part of the league.
Asked whether the project could still happen following the departures, Agnelli said it could not.
“To be frank and honest, no, evidently that is not the case,” he said.
Agnelli said he remained convinced European football needed to change and he had no regrets about the way the breakaway attempt was made.
He said additional clubs were ready to join the new league before the English sides announced their withdrawal.
“I’m not going to say how many clubs contacted me in just 24 hours asking if they could join,” he said.
“Maybe they lied, but I was contacted by a number of teams asking what they could do to join.”
Agnelli said he felt the UK government’s intervention, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatening legislation to stop the breakaway, had pushed the English clubs to withdraw.
“I have had speculation to that extent that if six teams would have broken away and would have threatened the EPL (English Premier League), politics would have seen that as an attack to Brexit and their political scheme,” he said.
Asked if he regretted how the breakaway was conducted — something heavily criticised by his former ally, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin — Agnelli referred to the nature of the football business.
“I don’t think our industry is a particularly sincere, trustworthy or reliable one in general,” he said.
Liverpool owner apologises for involvement in Super League
Liverpool owner John Henry has apologised to supporters and to manager Juergen Klopp for the “disruption” caused by the club’s involvement in the breakaway European Super League project.
Liverpool was among the six Premier League clubs that signed up for the Super League but withdrew on Tuesday.
In a video posted on the club’s website, Henry said the will of the supporters led to Liverpool leaving the league.
“I want to apologise to all the supporters of Liverpool for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours,” Henry said.
“It goes without saying, but should be said, that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans.
“Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you.”
Liverpool players, including captain Jordan Henderson, had voiced their concerns about the breakaway league, while club great Kenny Dalglish also encouraged them to withdraw.
Henry told supporters he took full responsibility for the negative attention brought to the club.
“I want to apologise to Juergen … to the players and to everyone who works so hard to make our fans proud,” Henry said.
“They have absolutely no responsibility for this disruption.
“In this endeavour I’ve let you down.
Again, I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days.”