JP Morgan has apologised for its role in plans for the failed breakaway European Super League.
The American investment bank said on Monday it had committed around £2.8billion as start-up capital for the league which posed a direct challenge to UEFA’s Champions League and also threatened to devalue Europe’s top domestic leagues.
Twelve clubs announced they had signed up to compete on Sunday but by Wednesday afternoon nine had withdrawn, including all six English teams — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — who had initially backed the project.
Fan protests and outrage from UEFA, FIFA, leagues, clubs, players and even politicians, made the league a non-starter.
And while the bank was expecting some controversy, sources say it was taken aback by the level of public uproar.
The bank released a short statement yesterday morning apologising for its role in plans for the league.
It said: ‘We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future. We will learn from this.’
JP Morgan has apologised for its role in plans for the failed breakaway European Super League. Pictured: Last night hundreds of Arsenal fans gathered outside the Emirate Stadium in Islington, north London, to demand the club’s owner American Stan Kroenke leaves
JP Morgan’s work on the super league is understood to have involved several London-based bankers. The key figures included Arsenal fan Viswas Raghavan (left), 54, who is the chief executive of the bank’s business in Europe and Argentinian Daniel Pinto (right), 58, one of the co-presidents of the bank
JP Morgan’s work on the super league is understood to have involved several London-based bankers and was approved by the company’s internal reputation committee.
The key figures included Arsenal fan Viswas Raghavan, 54, who is the chief executive of the bank’s business in Europe.
He is believed to have been one of the major proponents of the league internally at the bank.
The Indian financier is also a lifelong devotee of cricket and was instrumental in driving its lead sponsorship of Lord’s Cricket Ground.
And Argentinian Daniel Pinto, 58, one of the co-presidents of the bank, is also believed to have signed off on the plans but is not thought to have driven the project.
Pictured: Arsenal fans protest against owner Stan Kroenke after the failed launch of the European Super League. Hundreds of fans descended on North London’s Emirates Stadium yesterday night ahead of the team’s game against Everton
A line of police face supporters as they protest against Arsenal’s US owner Stan Kroenke, outside English Premier League club Arsenal’s Emirates stadium in London yesterday
Arsenal Fans protest against club owner Stan Kroenke, in the aftermath of the attempted European Super League breakaway, before a Premier League match against Everton at the Emirates Stadium, London, yesterday
Fans gathered on the stadium’s concourse more than two hours before kickoff, banging metal screens above the main box office, lighting flares, setting off fireworks, blaring airhorns and chanting ‘We want Kroenke out,’ and ‘We want our Arsenal back’. The protests came after Arsenal announced it was one of the 12 founding teams of the doomed European Super League
Speaking to Bloomberg Television this week, he said: ‘We were expecting this to be emotional.’
JP Morgan’s billionaire chief executive Jamie Dimon was reportedly aware of the plans but not directly involved.
A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment on individuals.
And insiders at JP Morgan insist it did not have a hand in designing the league.
A source told The Times: ‘Our job was to solve a financing problem that they wanted us to solve. We were not the architects of this transaction.’
The proposed league swiftly and spectacularly unravelled and Manchester United announced executive vice chairman Ed Woodward — who previously worked at JP Morgan — would leave by the end of the year following a backlash by fans, the football authorities and the Government.
JP Morgan has apologised for its role in plans for the failed breakaway European Super League
Applications for a ‘The Super League’ trademark were made as early as last Friday
Labour has called on Downing Street to release minutes of a meeting involving Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (pictured) just days before the European Super League was launched
Josh Kroenke (left), son of Arsenal owner Stan (centre), faced the music in a grilling with fans on Thursday
An exclusive survey conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for MailOnline found 55 per cent of people believe it would be better if teams were owned by their fans, even if that meant clubs having less money to spend on players
In the space of around three hours all six English clubs involved in the European Super League plans dramatically quit the hated break-away competition following a huge backlash from fans.
Like dominoes, one-by-one clubs fell back into line with their Premier League rivals, a mere 72 hours after proposing a seismic – and much-maligned – change to the beautiful game.
In a huge victory for fans, who for days have vented their fury at the proposals, members of the so-called Big Six each released statements – some more grovelling than others – announcing they would be pulling out of the European Super League.
Already mega-rich Manchester City were first to officially break rank by announcing they would turn their back on the £4.6billion proposals.
Then, in a stunning twist to the saga, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur suddenly announced they would follow suit.
Pictured: A banner against the proposed European Super League hangs from a pub close to Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northwest England on April 21, 2021
Pictured: Fans protested outside Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night against the break-away European Super league
Ministers launched a review into the sport last night following the collapse of controversial plans for a breakaway ‘super league’. Pictured: Fans protest the super league
And Chelsea, who are thought to have been the first to break rank, became the last to formally announce plans to pull out of the proposals. The club released a statement after their Premier League clash with Brighton on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, who had earlier described the project as a ‘cartel’ and threatened to show the plans the ‘straight red card’, said the decision to quit the breakaway league was ‘the right one’.
The plans for the breakaway league were also ‘unanimously and vigorously’ rejected by the other 14 members of the English top flight following a meeting on Tuesday.
The dramatic collapse, which took place over the course of just four hours, led organisers behind the European Super League to announce a suspension to the project.
The hundreds of Gunners fans hung banners over the edge of the concourse including ones that read, ‘Arsenal till I die. Kroenke out,’ and ‘Our club our home. Sell up Stan.’ Stan Kroke has been an unpopular owner for a long time
Police appeared to have controlled the protests outside the stadium on Friday as Arsenal’s match against Everton inside the stadium continued
Pictured: Arsenal fans protest against the European Super League and Owner Stan Kroenke outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on April 23, 2021. An effigy was strung up over a post – dressed to look like Stan Kronke – along with a sign that read ‘Silence Stan?’
Fans placed banners around Arsenal’s Emirates stadium with a variety of messages against the club’s owners. In this case, the words ‘Histroy, Tradition and Class’ were crossed out, with the words Kronke Out written at the bottom. Arsenal was founded in 1886 – 130 years ago – with some fans feeling the ownership has led to some of the club’s heritage diminishing
Pictured: Arsenal fans protest against owner after failed launch of a European Super League
An Arsenal fan reportedly suffered a ‘broken leg’ and a ‘head injury’ after falling from the top of the club’s ticket office during the European Super League protests, outside the club’s Emirates stadium ahead of the team’s clash with Everton
But in warning shot that indicated that the saga might not yet be fully over, organisers behind the breakaway competition released a statement saying that ‘status quo of European football needs to change’.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden welcomed the collapse of the European Super League following the withdrawal of the so-called ‘big six’ English Premier League clubs
And fans organised mass protests throughout the last week against the owners of the six clubs.
Last night hundreds of Arsenal fans gathered outside the Emirate Stadium in Islington, north London, to demand the club’s owner American Stan Kroenke leaves.
The protests came ahead of Arsenal’s Friday Premier League match against Everton, with fans gathering on the stadium’s concourse more than two hours before kickoff.
A review led by Tory MP Tracey Crouch will consider whether new criteria will be introduced for billionaire owners and if fans should be given greater representation at board level.
And pundits and fans have called for the teams to face involved in the league to be deducted points as punishment.
But Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa said he is not in favour of the clubs being sanctioned for attempting to form the competition.
Bielsa, whose side play Manchester United on Sunday, has been highly critical of the doomed ESL plans, but feels the current system ‘is not up to standard’.
Labour demands answers as it emerges Manchester United’s Ed Woodward had meeting at Downing Street just four days before hated Super League plans were revealed
Labour has called on Downing Street to release minutes of a meeting involving Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward just days before the European Super League was launched.
Mr Woodward is understood to have been in No 10 for a meeting with officials rather than Boris Johnson, with sources insisting it was Covid-related.
But The Independent reported Mr Woodward was introduced to the Prime Minister following the meeting with No 10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield on Wednesday last week.
Downing Street insiders insisted the talks did not cover the breakaway European competition and ‘the Prime Minister was not in that meeting’.
News of the competition involving Manchester United and five other English teams, along with sides from Spain and Italy, broke on Sunday night.
Shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said: ‘The Prime Minister and his ministers made very public and vocal condemnation of the European Super League.
‘The public would therefore expect the same message to have been delivered in any private meetings.
‘Downing Street should release the minutes in order to clear up any confusion and avoid accusations of hypocrisy.’
He said: ‘I don’t think that the path for a solution is for these clubs to be punished, but to convince what is best and to come up with rules of acceptance in general and make sure these rules are adhered to.
‘When a rule is broken this forces a sanction (and this) means that the process before that was not efficient.
‘And the leadership of the organisation to administer the interests of everybody is to create rules that everyone is able to adhere to as they have all accepted them.
‘I am of the opinion that punishment is more for authority and shows that the quality or the efficiency of the rules was not up to standard.’
In the wake of waves of negative reaction, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham all swiftly confirmed they would withdraw from the process.
Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce, whose side tackle Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, felt the ‘big six’ had ‘taken a slapping’ over the saga.
Bruce warned the football authorities would have to remain on their guard to ensure the proposal is not resurrected in the future.
‘We’ve got to guard against it because this thing must have been rumbling on for years, so we must guard against it so this threatened breakaway doesn’t happen,’ he said.
‘Look, I’ll let the authorities and the Premier League and all the rest of it deal with that, more intelligent people than I am, but they have to guard against it, that’s for sure.’
Bruce added: ‘These big clubs, how much do they need to earn? They already earn hundreds of millions more than, for example, we do and we’re a big club. It baffles me.’
Asked about his emotions as a former Red Devils captain to the Old Trafford club’s involvement in the plan, Bruce replied: ‘It’s all of them, not just Manchester United.
‘I hope they’ve learned from their mistake. They must have been all shocked with what happened so very, very quickly to shut it all down, to withdraw so quickly. Let’s hope not just Manchester United, all of them.’
The Super League clubs resigned from the European Club Association (ECA) at the weekend having announced their intention to break away.
However, a tweet from the ECA on Friday appeared to offer hope of returning to the fold.
‘We want to move past the events of this week and encourage and inspire the global football community, as matches return this weekend,’ it read.
‘Clubs can only succeed both on and off the pitch if we work hand in hand.’
The ECA has traditionally been perceived as an organisation which lobbies UEFA chiefly in the interests of Europe’s elite clubs, and failure of the Super League 12 to gain re-entry could weaken their ability to influence matters at continental level.
Who is Arsenal’s American billionaire owner Stan Kronke?
The 73-year-old American billionaire is heavily involved in sport as owner of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment with Premier League side Arsenal among the biggest guns in his portfolio.
His company has been involved with the Gunners since 2007 and he took complete control three years ago.
Kroenke also owns elite-level American teams LA Rams (American Football), the Denver Nuggest (basketball), Colorado Avalanche (ice hockey) and the Colorado Rapids (football).
Kroenke was able to navigate his way around NFL rules preventing ownership of teams in other markets by having the Avalanche and Nuggets in his wife’s name. Ann Walton is the daughter of Walton co-founder James Bud Walton.
He also has the Colorado Mammoth team in the National Lacrosse League and, since 2017 has been involved in epsorts, owning teams in leagues for the video games Overwatch and Call of Duty.
Despite his involvement in sports watched by millions Kroenke prefers to avoid the spotlight and has the nickname ‘Silent Stan.’ He is estimated to be worth around $10billion.