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European Super League: Manchester United co-chair Joel Glazer ‘apologises unreservedly’ to fans after backlash

Written by on 21 April 2021

Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer has “apologised unreservedly” to fans following the club’s aborted plans to join the European Super League.

He said: “We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.

“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.”

Joel Glazer Image: Joel Glazer was previously announced as vice-chairman of the Super League

Mr Glazer added: “This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days.”

Previously, Mr Glazer had been announced as a vice-chairman of the Super League, saying it would “open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid”.

Mr Glazer joins the owner of Liverpool FC, John W Henry, who apologised to fans, manager Jurgen Klopp and his players over the club’s bid to join the project – which is now expected to not go ahead.

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In a video posted on the club’s official Twitter feed, Mr Henry said: “I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours.”

He said the project “was never going to stand without the support of the fans”, adding: “No one ever thought differently in England and over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you, I heard you.”

He also apologised to Klopp, his players and staff, saying: “They have absolutely no responsibility for this disruption.”

Welcoming the exits of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United from the controversial competition, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We must continue to protect our cherished national game.”

He called the withdrawal of the six Premier League teams from the proposed Super League the “right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country”.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association (FA), tweeted that he is “glad” fans have now been listened to.

The teams announced their departures amid protests from fans and fierce criticism from many within the game, including former players and pundits.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News that it was a “victory for fans” and “the country has been united in condemning these proposals”.

“We were willing to take very very bold measures to stop this proposal going ahead,” he said.

Mr Dowden added that it was “very important that we don’t see this as the end of the process”, saying: “What this has highlighted more than ever is the need to look at the wider governance of football.”

He said a government review announced on Monday will continue and examine “how we address football governance, football finance and indeed the whole fan experience”.

In light of the English clubs’ withdrawal, the Super League said it was considering “appropriate steps to reshape the project”.

It said in a statement: “Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure put on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations as was demonstrated today [Tuesday] by a court decision to protect the Super League from third party actions.

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‘We have given strength to fans in stopping this’

“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.

“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change. We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work.

“Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.”

Chelsea, faced with an angry protest from their fans outside their Stamford Bridge stadium, was the first club to act, preparing documents to formally withdraw.

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Fans celebrate victory over Super League

Owner Roman Abramovich is understood to have driven the decision, having listened to fan protests and opted to back out.

Manchester City soon followed, with the club saying in a statement that it had “enacted the procedures to withdraw” from the competition.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said he regretted the “anxiety and upset” caused as he confirmed the club had “formally commenced procedures” to pull out.

Meanwhile Arsenal admitted to making “a mistake” and apologised after confirming its departure.

An open letter from the club’s board said: “The last few days have shown us yet again the depth of feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love.

“We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought.”

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