Roman Abramovich says Chelsea pulled out of the European Super League after listening to the backlash from the club’s fans and stakeholders.
The Blues pulled the plug on the controversial breakaway league on Tuesday night after Thomas Tuchel’s side drew 0-0 with Brighton at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were joined by the five other English clubs, who had initially signed up in withdrawing and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli said this morning that the league can longer go ahead.
The west London club’s decision came after hundreds of Chelsea supporters protested against the Super League outside Stamford Bridge and delayed kick-off against Brighton.
Although Manchester City’s official club statement came before Chelsea’s on Tuesday night, the club were the first of the 12 rebels to signal their intent to pull out.
The club’s statement read: “As reported earlier this evening, Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the club, our supporters or the wider football community.”
The protest by Chelsea fans on Tuesday, which blocked traffic on the Fulham Road and delayed the club’s team bus on its short journey from the Chelsea Harbour Hotel, clearly had its desired effect.
Abramovich, who took over Chelsea in 2003, initially put his trust in chairman Bruce Buck to sign up to the Super League, but he was quick to backtrack after seeing the widespread condemnation, criticism and protest the decision caused.
A spokesperson for the Chelsea owner told The Telegraph: “Having spoken extensively to fans and stakeholders, we have always worked with the community and we’re not going to do anything that goes against them. We listened and we heard.”
Meanwhile, The Sun have claimed that the Russian is now ‘furious’ as he felt ‘blindsided’ by supporters’ true feelings about the competition and is now fearful of the damage the fiasco has done to his reputation with Blues fans.
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However, The Telegraph writes that the club’s relatively swift action has ‘probably ensured’ that Abramovich’s reputation and legacy will not be tainted among the club’s fans.
As Chelsea’s official statement makes clear, the club are keen to distance themselves from the ringleaders of the Super League, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus chief Agnelli.
The Blues are keen to depict themselves as being reluctant to join in the first place and as the first to withdraw in the face of mounting pressure from all sides.