Manchester City are set to withdraw from the controversial new Super League.
Sunday’s announcement that 12 founding clubs – including City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham from the Premier League as well as clubs from Spain and Italy – were to set up a new breakaway competition was met with widespread criticism.
Angry supporters and fan groups at City slammed the move as protest banners were placed outside Etihad Stadium, with further demonstrations planned.
The club formally confirmed the news on Tuesday night, after it is understood that they were concerned by the overwhelming negative reaction to the proposals.
A statement on the club website read simply: “Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”
Pep Guardiola was dismissive of the proposal in his press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.
“It’s not sport when there is no relation between effort and success, it’s not sport,” he said. “It’s not sport if it doesn’t matter if you lose. I’ve said many times I want the best competition as possible. It’s not fair if teams fight at the top and cannot qualify.”
The other 14 Premier League clubs reacted angrily to the competition and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened to take action.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the withdrawal of City from the breakaway league project.
He said: “I am delighted to welcome City back to the European football family.
They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices – most notably their fans – that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football.
“It takes courage to admit a mistake but I have never doubted that they had the ability and common sense to make that decision.
City are a real asset for the game and I am delighted to be working with them for a better future for the European game.”