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Arsenal should withdraw from the Super League

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Chelsea, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona all appear to be on their way out. It looks as if the Super League is dead.

Fans Respond To News Of Football Super League Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images

That wasn’t fun while it lasted. With reports emerging that Chelsea have prepared the paperwork to withdraw from The Super League and Manchester City expected to do the same, it would appear as if the breakaway league is dead on before arrival.

There are even reports out of Spain indicating hesitancy from Barcelona to join without sponsor / controlling voter approval (spoiler: it will be dead before they get an answer) and that Atlético Madrid are out as well. If you hit refresh enough times, you’ll see the news break about all the other Super League clubs withdrawing as well.

What an embarrassing fiasco and farce. The entire thing was botched from the rollout, to the PR, to the lack of communication and messaging with the stakeholders (coaches, players, fans). Just misstep after misstep.

Arsenal need to save whatever face there is left to save and withdraw as well. And I expect that in due time, they will do just that. But they’ll probably screw that up somehow, too, like letting the thing fold on its own instead of actively pulling out.

It’s remarkable, really, how a group of massive clubs run by millionaire CEO’s and billionaire owners managed to take a decent negotiating position against UEFA and the Champions League, weaken their bargaining position, and take a massive PR hit without actually gaining anything at all.

In the coming days, I expect the Arsenal beat reporters and fan groups will ask all the necessary questions of the club to figure out how and why Arsenal decided to join this ill-fated project. That will happen regardless of whether The Super League completely collapses and if / when Arsenal decide the back out of things.

But will that be enough? Will there / should there be additional ramifications, either from the governing bodies or from the fans, just for making the attempt? What damage has this done to a whole host of relationships at every level i.e. club-governing body, between clubs, club-player, et cetera? There are so many questions that still need sorting.

And while “football as you know and love it” looks to have gotten a temporary reprieve, I think we’ll be back here in due time. The big clubs still aren’t happy. The Champions League changes won’t satisfy anyone (they’re really not great, but at least right now Arsenal would get in, so that’s something). The football world has been hit hard financially by COVID effect, and nothing has been done to change that. As one of the statements out of Bayern Munich illustrated, the clubs want reduced player wages, agent fees, and other cost controlling measures (all things that were proposed as part of the Super League).

Those problems don’t include the more pressing issues (at least for some people) of the rampant racism, misogyny, and other questions of ethics and morality in the game and its effects on society. You know, the issues that a number of players and commentators pointedly spoke about wishing people would demonstrate as much energy to combat as they have shown fighting against the prospect of a Super League?

The apparent demise of this attempt at a Super League is a win for football. But there is still a great deal of work to be done. And at least as of right now, Arsenal still have an important piece of work to do too — getting out of the Super League and the reconciliation / damage control that comes after that.

Tick tock, Stan Kroenke.