The recently announced European Super League has lost half of its founding members after owners from the six English sides have publicly apologized to their fans for their initial involvement. Inter Milan, another founding member, is expected to withdraw soon as well, according to the BBC.
Upon the first statement signaling the creation of the ESL, there was almost a universal indictment of the proposed league, both online and in-person demonstrations.
Because 15 of the 20 clubs competing would have guaranteed places each season, critics, from football pundits to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said this was harmful to the spirit of competition and fairness. Many labelled it as a money grab from the biggest clubs in Europe.
According to Sky Sports, the owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, is said to have pushed for an exit from the ESL after seeing fans protest outside their stadium Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United all followed suit shortly after, as club owners and board members posted public apologies.
John W. Henry, the owner of Liverpool, went as far as posting a video to his Twitter account, where he addressed the criticism.
I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours.
Henry continued by apologizing to his team and staff, adding that they had no responsibility for the 'disruption.'
The future of the ESL
The remaining members of the European Super League, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus, have said the league will reevaluate its options but have no intentions of disbanding.
They wrote in a statement:
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.