04/20 13:25 CDT AP source: Chelsea preparing to ask out of Super League
AP source: Chelsea preparing to ask out of Super League
By ROB HARRIS
AP Global Soccer Writer
LONDON (AP) --- Chelsea was preparing to dramatically abandon its plan to join
a breakaway Super League on Tuesday, threatening to implode the project by a
group of elite English, Spanish and Italian clubs less than two days after it
Chelsea is preparing documents to tell the Super League it wants out of the
12-team plan, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Chelsea was yet to send its
decision to the organizers of the new, largely closed competition that would
split the teams away from UEFA's existing Champions League.
Chelsea was one of six English clubs along with three elite teams from both
Spain and Italy who signed up to the Super League.
The decision came as fans protested outside the club's Stamford Bridge stadium
and as English opposition to the Super League intensified.
The Premier League threatened to sanction the six rebel clubs and Prime
Minister Boris Johnson considered introducing laws to stop them forming a new
European competition he called a "cartel."
Divisions within the Super League clubs also grew with Manchester City manager
Pep Guardiola saying the Super League would damage the integrity and values of
sport. Liverpool manager Jrgen Klopp has also expressed concerns about the
actions of his club's owners.
The Premier League has already threatened the six Super League clubs with
expulsion if they go it alone in Europe. The other 14 clubs met on Tuesday and
"unanimously and vigorously" rejected the Super League plans.
"The Premier League is considering all actions available to prevent it from
progressing, as well as holding those shareholders involved to account under
its rules," the English top division said in a statement.
The six clubs, driven by the American owners of Manchester United, Liverpool
and Arsenal, have teamed up with the Spanish and Italian teams to rip up the
structures of the European game.
Tottenham is also part of the breakaway that would see the teams guaranteed
entry each year into the Super League rather than having to qualify through the
previous season's Premier League placing.
"Sport is not a sport when the relationship between the effort and the success,
the effort and reward doesn't exist," said Guardiola, whose Manchester City
side leads the Premier League. "It's not a sport. It's not a sport when success
is already guaranteed. It's not a sport when it doesn't matter when you lose."
Premier League officials were also part of a meeting alongside representatives
of fan groups led from Downing Street by Johnson, who told them the government
would "drop a legislative bomb" on the Super League if necessary.
"I think it's not in the interests of fans, it's not in the interests of
football," Johnson said later in a news conference.
The government could adopt the 50-plus-1 rule from Germany that gives fans the
majority of voting rights, nominally to protect clubs from being controlled by
private investors. The Super League aims for 15 founding Super League clubs ---
three places are yet to be filled --- and only five spots with more open access.
"How can it be right to have a situation in which you create a kind of cartel
that stops clubs competing against each other, playing against each other
properly, with all the hope and excitement that gives to the fans up and down
the country?" Johnson said. "I think it offends against the basic principles of
Everton decried the "preposterous arrogance" of Super League clubs. Everton's
nine titles are the fourth most by a team in the history of the English top
division, and the club from Merseyside was considered part of the country's
elite in the 1980s and early 1990s.
"The backlash is understandable and deserved --- and has to be listened to,"
Everton's board of directors said in a statement. "This preposterous arrogance
is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this
Everton's majority owner, British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri, has spent
heavily in recent years in an effort to push the team, which is managed by
Carlo Ancelotti, into the group stage of the Champions League for the first
West Ham is also pursuing a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League
for the first time. The east London club said the Super League was an "attack
on sporting integrity, undermines competition."
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