Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur have pulled out of the European Super League following backlash from fans
Liverpool owner John W Henry has apologised to fans after the club’s withdrawal from the controversial European Super League. The current Premier League champions, Liverpool, were one of 12 founding members of the breakaway league announced on Sunday. After severe backlash from fans and former players, which also included protests outside many grounds, Liverpool and the five other English clubs pulled out of the tournament on Tuesday. Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham were the other English teams.
Liverpool had initially released a statement on their website to confirm their withdrawal. Later, Henry addressed the supporters in a video on Wednesday morning. The American owner insisted that “the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans”. “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 said.
“It goes without saying but should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans. No-one ever thought differently in England. Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you.”
Henry, as head of Fenway Sports Group (FSG), took over Liverpool in 2010. Under his reign, the Merseyside team has won the Champions League before clinching their first league title in 30 years. “More than a decade ago when we signed up for the challenges associated with football, we dreamed of what you dreamed of. And we’ve worked hard to improve your club,” he added.
“Our work isn’t done. And I hope you’ll understand that even when we make mistakes, we’re trying to work in your club’s best interests. In this endeavour I’ve let you down. Again, I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days. It’s something I won’t forget. And shows the power the fans have today and will rightly continue to have.”
Following the announcement of the league, it was the managers of these teams, who were bombarded with questions from the media. Jurgen Klopp had to speak in length about the league before and after the game against Leeds United. In his video, Henry apologised to Klopp and the players.
“I want to apologise to Jurgen, to Billy [Hogan, chief executive], to the players and to everyone who works so hard at LFC to make our fans proud. They have absolutely no responsibility for this disruption. They were the most disrupted and unfairly so. This is what hurts most. They love your club and work to make you proud every single day,” he added.
“I know the entire LFC team has the expertise, leadership and passion necessary to rebuild trust and help us move forward,” he added.
He also went on to speak about the importance of fans in football. “If there’s one thing this horrible pandemic has clearly shown, it’s how crucial fans are to our sport and to every sport. It’s shown in every empty stadium. It’s been an incredibly tough year for all of us; virtually no-one unaffected,” he added.
“It’s important that the Liverpool football family remains intact, vital and committed to what we’ve seen from you globally, with local gestures of kindness and support. I can promise you I will do whatever I can to further that.”