Real Madrid would find the money to buy Erling Haaland at the end of the season if he can be prised away from Borussia Dortmund, according to the player's agent.

Mino Raiola, who represents the Norwegian striker, believes the opportunity to land a rare talent such as Haaland would be too good for Madrid, or Barcelona, to refuse.

Both Spanish giants signed up to the European Super League, a competition that could have helped ease their financial worries.

The apparent collapse of that league led Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to state his club – or any other for that matter – would be unable to afford any spectacular summer signings.

Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe has also been linked with a move to Madrid.

Raiola thinks Los Blancos would not back away if Haaland became available.

"I don't know if they can afford him, because I haven't studied their books. But I think they can. I think they all can," Raiola told Spanish newspaper AS. "The question is different: Can Madrid afford not to buy Haaland? And Barca?"

He added: "This change Madrid will carry out needs to last 10 years, and that's why Haaland is important, because he's really young, but you would be buying a youngster with elite experience.

"The same with Mbappe. But you only get one chance to buy them. Right now you have the chance to buy them for the next 10 years. The same happened with Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi. Then, once they are in a big team, they don't let them go."

Dortmund have said they do not want to sell their star striker, who turns 21 in July, during the European summer transfer window, and Raiola said of that stance: "Now let's see if that desire is still there through to the 1st of September."

He added: "Today, the official stance of Dortmund is this. But I've got another view, I think that if a good opportunity comes up and everyone would be happy, we'll put it on the table."

Raiola spoke of working towards being able to "create a menu" of options for Haaland, but stressed that was not yet a possibility, and said there would be a risk element whether the player stayed or left Dortmund.

Dortmund have been well off the pace in the Bundesliga this season, currently sitting in fifth place and 16 points adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.

Raiola made it clear that Haaland wants to be a serial trophy winner as well as a prolific scorer. The latter aspect was described by Raiola as the striker's "obsession".

"No doubt he'll pick somewhere where he feels those two things go together best for him," Raiola said.

"It's really hard to lie. When a club like Barcelona or Real Madrid comes in for you, with so much history and being such a big club, it's hard to say no."

Raiola also teased the possibility of Haaland and Mbappe one day featuring alongside one another, saying: "In the big clubs, you can have great players together: Neymar and Messi have been together, Ronaldinho was with great players, Haaland could be alongside Mbappe or not. Great players always play together."

For now, it appears a distant prospect, as Madrid and Barcelona, both hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, weigh up the pros and cons of just one major transfer market splash.

Manchester United's outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has assured supporters the club will not seek a revival of the collapsed European Super League during a heated fans forum on Friday.

Earlier this month United were one of 12 founding clubs who announced the formation of a closed-shop competition that would have guaranteed them participation every year.

But less than 48 hours after the initial plans were confirmed, proposals collapsed as the six English clubs wilted under the pressure of supporters, ex-players and media, who widely decried the attempted breakaway from the Champions League.

United co-owner Joel Glazer apologised to supporters for their involvement in an open letter, though fan representatives rejected that apology in the first forum since the controversy.

In a letter of their own, the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) reiterated they have "zero trust" in Glazer and his brother Avram, and listed five demands that generally related to increasing what say the fans have in the running of the club.

While Woodward is not thought to have explicitly responded to each point in the letter, which is reported to have been read out to him, he did address some concerns and insisted United would not be looking revive the Super League, despite its chairman Florentino Perez's previous insistence the plans were not completely dead.

Woodward, whose end-of-year exit was announced amid the Super League backlash but apparently not in connection to it, said: "I know that you will feel angry and let down by the lack of consultation and by the way the proposal failed to recognise the vital principle of open competition.

"Proper discussion would have helped us avoid the mistake we made.

"While there would have been a substantial increase in solidarity payments from the leading clubs to the rest of the pyramid across Europe, we fully accept that there were fundamental elements which were badly misjudged.

“As Joel said last week, we failed to give enough weight to the essential principles and traditions of sporting merit which are so vital to football not just in domestic competition but in European competition since the mid-1950s.

“We want to restate our commitment to those traditions. I can assure you that we have learned our lesson from the events of the past week, and we do not seek any revival of the Super League plans.

"Manchester United is fortunate to be in a relatively stronger position than many clubs because of the resilience of our self-sustaining model.

"We have a disciplined, long-term approach which has allowed us to navigate the pandemic, while continuing to invest in the team, which we will continue to do this summer.

"We will now continue working with the rest of the football community to address the long-term challenges facing the game.

"But I can assure you that we will be doing that with great sensitivity to the opinions that you and other fans have expressed in recent days."

Five high-profile club executives have resigned from their roles on Premier League sub-committees following the European Super League debacle.

Stats Perform News understands Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Liverpool chairman Tom Werner have stepped down from the club broadcast advisory group, while Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has left the audit and remuneration committee.

Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and his Manchester City counterpart Ferran Soriano have both resigned from the club strategic advisory group.

The moves came to light just 11 days after these clubs, and Tottenham, declared on April 18 they would be joining a new Super League competition, which faced scorn before it was formally announced after news leaked out in the preceding hours.

It provoked fury, with the 'closed-shop' element of the proposed new competition set to see six of the Premier League's biggest clubs guaranteed riches far beyond those available to their domestic rivals.

Within 48 hours, the project had collapsed as the Premier League clubs withdrew, but by showing they had been willing to join in the new league, and doing so without consulting others that may be affected, domestic rivals were left incensed.

There were calls for points penalties or financial punishments to be imposed, but those now seem unlikely.

By losing their executive representation on the sub-committees, at the apparent behest of the 14 aggrieved clubs, the influence of the 'breakaway' teams is diminished for now.

It was reported by Sky News last week that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters contacted each of the affected executives and asked them to step down.

Tottenham did not have a representative on the sub-committees, ESPN reported.

United's Woodward is due to leave his Old Trafford role at the end of the year, a decision that was announced following the Super League fiasco but was said by sources not to be a consequence of that episode.

Managers including City's Pep Guardiola and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp spoke out against the Super League concept, along with many players, fan groups, major football bodies, politicians and even royalty.

The Premier League has made no official comment on the resignations of the executives.

Serie A teams who still wish to pursue the European Super League on June 21 will lose their league membership, according to a new ruling in Italy.

Italian giants Juventus, Inter and Milan signed up to the controversial breakaway competition earlier this month among 12 elite European clubs.

Proposals guaranteed participation for the dozen founding teams, who would no longer enter the Champions League.

But the anti-competitive tournament prompted outrage around the football world, and pressure from fans, players, coaches, governing bodies, governments and the media soon told.

The Premier League's 'big six' all backed out within two days of the Super League's launch, while Inter quickly followed.

Milan appeared to distance themselves from the new competition, too, but Juventus, while acknowledging the existing format cannot work, retain hope of reform in European football.

Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli has been credited with playing a key role in the organisation of the tournament.

But initial plans suggested the Bianconeri and their allies would continue to play in domestic competitions while contesting the Super League.

A new regulation, passed on Monday, means this cannot happen.

Italian Football Association (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said: "Those who believe they should participate in a competition not authorised by the FIGC, UEFA and FIFA lose membership.

"At the moment, we have no news of who remained and who left the Super League.

"This rule refers to national licenses. It is clear that if, on June 21, the deadline for registration applications, someone wishes to participate in competitions of a private nature, they will not take part in our championship."

Juve would appear to be the club at most serious risk, although Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has claimed Milan are also still involved.

Both Juve and Milan first have work to do to clinch qualification for the Champions League, the tournament they sought to break away from.

Andrea Pirlo's team were held to a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina on Sunday and are fourth, level on points with fifth-placed Milan, who were thumped 3-0 by Lazio on Monday.

Zinedine Zidane says the idea of Real Madrid being banned from the Champions League for their part in the attempted European Super League breakaway is "absurd".

Madrid were among the 12 founding clubs of the competition that was announced earlier this month, with club president Florentino Perez installed as the Super League's chairman.

But last week, within 48 hours of the plans being confirmed, the six English clubs involved all withdrew, and they were soon followed by Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan. Juventus remain supportive of the Super League but did acknowledge the collapse of the initial proposal.

Madrid and Barcelona have been defiant since, however, adamant their plans still have merit and are not completely dead.

UEFA is threatening to punish all of the 12, but the English clubs withdrawing early could earn them some leniency, though Zidane is not worried about the idea of Madrid being barred from the Champions League next term.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's semi-final first leg with Chelsea, Zidane said: "You have already asked me about all this and I have already answered.

"It is absurd to think that we will not be in the Champions League. There is a lot of talk from outside. There is going to be a lot of talk, but we don't control it, I just focus on the game.

"But my opinion is that we all want to see Madrid in the Champions League."

It was also put to Zidane that UEFA's stance could potentially be reflected by the officials being harsh on Madrid against Chelsea.

"The referee is going to do his job and we are going to play football," he replied. "We just have to think about that.

"If we start to think that what is being said is going to harm us, we are screwed. We are going to compete from minute one to 90. The rest, we don't get involved in."

The Champions League fixture follows a tricky LaLiga title tussle for Madrid, whose 0-0 draw with Real Betis on Saturday seeing them miss out on going top of the table.

With leaders Atletico losing to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday and Sevilla beating Granada, just three points separate top from fourth in what is shaping up to be the most thrilling title race in years, but Zidane insists Madrid will not be giving one competition priority over the other.

"We are not going to choose. We are alive in both competitions," he added. "We have had a lot of difficulties this year, but we have always been able to lift ourselves.

"There is a month left and we are going to compete until the end. There is no other thought in my head.

"What we want to do is give everything on the field, without thinking that winning will not be possible."

Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has heavily criticised the "self-proclaimed big six" in the Premier League for their involvement in a breakaway European competition, branding the "deeply cynical" plan a betrayal of every true football supporter.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham were all part of a 12-club group that launched the Super League last Sunday.

The proposal included the agreement that the six English clubs, as well as fellow founding members Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, Juventus, Milan and Real Madrid, would qualify each year for the competition, regardless of performances in their domestic leagues.

However, a widespread backlash led to the collapse of the competition inside 48 hours of the initial announcement. The Premier League contingent all withdrew on Tuesday, though UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has made clear there will still be consequences for getting involved.

Ahead of hosting Manchester United at Elland Road on Sunday, Kinnear lambasted Leeds' domestic rivals in his programme notes.

"The fact that the whole Leeds fan-base has been united by the brilliantly impassioned words of Gary Neville illustrates how desperate the plight of European football became this week," Kinnear wrote.

"A fortnight ago we left the Etihad with an instinct that Manchester City didn't take well to being humbled by lowly Leeds United, but we could never have predicted that it would be the catalyst for them creating their own league where they would never have to be inconvenienced with the spectre of on-pitch failure again.

"The audacity of a resurgent Leeds United, an ambitious Aston Villa, a brilliantly managed Leicester City, a Champions League-bound West Ham United and an Everton with bold stadium plans have clearly overwhelmed the self-proclaimed 'big six'.

"The timing of their plan combined with the turmoil of a global pandemic was not coincidental, it was deeply cynical, and the clandestine plotting of fellow Premier League shareholders made it all the more seditious.

"Whether the collective intent was a genuine move to breakaway or the act of playground bullies seeking negotiating leverage at European and domestic level by threatening to take their ball home is irrelevant. The result was a betrayal of every true football supporter. However, this astonishing ingordigiousness has been the unexpected catalyst of creating a furious unity across nations, leagues, players, owners and fans.

"I was proud to see Leeds United and Liverpool supporters stand shoulder to shoulder in protest before a game which once again showed we are already in a Super League and making it all the more bizarre that, in the world envisioned by Liverpool's ownership, the same fixture would have been a meaningless dead rubber."

Fans protested outside Elland Road on Monday ahead of Leeds' home fixture with Liverpool – a game that finished 1-1 after Diego Llorente dented the visitors' top-four hopes with a late equaliser.

The hosts had warmed up prior to the game wearing shirts that read "Earn it" – in reference to the Reds' bid to qualify for the Champions League – and "Football is for the fans". There was also a sign saying the same stationed behind one of the goals inside the stadium.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has made clear the 12 European Super League clubs must face the consequences for their involvement in the planned breakaway competition.

Less than 48 hours after the official announcement of the tournament, and following a huge public backlash to the plan, the 'big six' from the Premier League – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – all ended their involvement.

Ceferin has praised the English clubs for a willingness to admit they made a mistake, but that will not mean they avoid punishment – albeit it is unclear yet what action the governing body will take.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, the UEFA chief revealed how he has placed the teams in different tiers while comparing Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid to those who believe Earth is flat, with that trio still remaining aligned to the initial proposal.

"Everyone has to take consequences for what they did and we cannot pretend nothing happened," Ceferin told the newspaper.

"You cannot do something like that and just say: 'I've been punished because everybody hates me'. They don't have problems because of anyone else but themselves. It's not okay what they did and we will see in next few days what we have to do.

"But for me it's a clear difference between the English clubs and the other six. They pulled out first, they admitted they made a mistake. You have to have some greatness to say: 'I was wrong'.

"For me there are three groups of this 12 — the English six, who went out first, then the other three [Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan] after them and then the ones who feel that Earth is flat and they think the Super League still exists. And there is a big difference between those.

"But everyone will be held responsible. In what way, we will see. I don't want to say disciplinary process but it has to be clear that everyone has to be held responsible in a different way.

"Is it disciplinary? Is it the decision of the executive committee? We will see. It's too early to say."

There was widespread condemnation of the Super League from fans, governing bodies and former players alike, leading to financial backers JP Morgan to admit they "misjudged how the deal would be viewed by the wider football community".

UEFA announced changes to the Champions League format on Monday, including an increase from 32 to 36 clubs as the current group stage system is to be shelved in favour of a single league.

Clubs will get to play four extra matches per season, with the top eight in the final table advancing through to the last 16. Those placed between ninth and 24th will enter a play-off round to decide who else will qualify for the knockout stages, while those 25th and lower are eliminated and do not enter the Europa League.

The radical reforms to the competition are scheduled to come into place for the 2024-25 season.

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola voiced his concerns about the European Super League internally but says there is no problem with his relationship with the club's hierarchy.

City were the first club to withdraw from the European Super League which received widespread condemnation about its announcement last week.

Guardiola mentioned earlier this week that he opposed a league without relegation and had voiced similar concerns at the concept within the four walls of the club.

"It was not difficult because before I make a statement we spoke about that, and they completely agree, and that’s why I tell you," Guardiola said.

"I love this club – I love Ferran [Soriano, chief executive], Txiki [Begiristain, sporting director], Khaldoon [Al Mubarak, chairman] and the people who work in the club – we work together.

"Since I arrived here we were all together in all the decisions.

"I make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes – the guys who take decisions make mistakes, the guys who are sitting and judging what the others do make mistakes.

"Sometimes you are wrong. What’s the problem? We react and we apologise and move forward."

Soriano put out a message to the club's fans earlier in the week, saying that the board deeply regretted its actions.

Andrea Pirlo came out bullish when asked about the European Super League, insisting that Juventus are not scared of possible UEFA sanctions.

Juve were one of 12 leading European clubs to announce their intention to form a breakaway, closed-shop competition.

The news caused anger and furore across the continent, with all six English clubs involved electing to withdraw on Tuesday amid mounting pressure from fans, the media, politicians and governing bodies.

Despite the majority of the 12 clubs having pulled out, Juve – whose chairman Andrea Agnelli was one of the major players in the proposals – have not yet done so, while Barcelona and Real Madrid have also stayed in.

Madrid president Florentino Perez has been on the defensive all week, and as recently as Saturday told AS that the Super League teams were giving themselves time to reflect on the proposal.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has again reiterated that if Juve, Barca and Madrid fail to withdraw, then they could face suspension from the Champions League.

However, when asked if Juve were afraid of UEFA's threats, Pirlo – who was previewing Sunday's Serie A meeting with Fiorentina – replied: "We are not scared, we are comfortable that we can end the season pursuing our own objectives. We are okay regardless of the decisions UEFA will make."

Of Agnelli, Pirlo added: "I saw him as being serene. I believe it is normal many people talk about him, but he knows what he has to do and always encourages the team when he visits us during the training sessions. 

"The environment now is positive. We want to finish the season in the best way. After losing the title and the Champions League, our main target is to get a spot in Champions League.

"This is a must. We must be calm, but we must be fully focused for our ultimate objective."

One player certain to be crucial to Juve securing Champions League football is Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 36-year-old has scored 25 times in Serie A this term, while he has netted three goals against Fiorentina during his time with Juve – all of them coming from the spot.

"For me this is the first year [managing Ronaldo], I have a great relationship with him," Pirlo said when asked if it was difficult to handle Ronaldo's ego.

"He is a player who always wants to do well, he gets angry even when he loses minor games.

"When someone always wants to be at his best, I believe it is normal to have these kinds of attitudes. He always wants to win and is keen to help the team at all the time. This is a very positive side of him."

Florentino Perez says the clubs who claimed this week to have abandoned the European Super League remain contractually tied to the project.

The Real Madrid president, who has been a driving force and staunch defender of the controversial breakaway, says those that signed up "can't leave", even if they say they have quit the league.

Twelve teams declared last Sunday that they had committed to the Super League, but on Tuesday all six Premier League clubs announced they had quit. Inter and Atletico Madrid soon followed, Milan may also withdraw, while Juventus remain advocates of the league but have acknowledged its collapse.

Real Madrid and Barcelona very much remain, but for all the merits of Clasico clashes, they need other clubs to firmly commit.

Perez was asked in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS whether it was true that clubs would have to buy themselves out of binding contracts.

He said: "I'm not going to take my time to explain what a binding contract is here. But the fact is, the clubs can't leave.

"Some, because of the pressure, have had to say they'll leave. But this project, or something very similar, will happen, and I hope it's in the near future."

Supporters, players, coaches, politicians and even royalty have come out in opposition of the plans, with the 'closed-shop' nature of the Super League, whereby the 12 founding clubs would be guaranteed continuing membership, being criticised as an anti-competitive concept.

UEFA and FIFA, the long-time governing bodies of the European and world game, have been scathing and pointed to the possibility of punishments being imposed on the clubs involved.

Perez vowed the Super League has not yet been killed off and is merely a sleeping project, poised to be resurrected.

"The entity exists and the members who make up the Super League are there too," he said.

"What we've done is given ourselves a few weeks to reflect on the hostility with which certain people who don't want to lose their privileges have manipulated the project."

He said financial backers JP Morgan remain involved, despite the investment banking firm stating it "clearly misjudged" the depth of feeling that would be stirred in the football community by the league.

"They've taken time to reflect, like the 12 clubs," Perez said. "If something needs to be changed, it'll be changed, but the Super League is the best project we've thought can be carried out."

Perez said he was baffled by UEFA's Champions League expansion plans, announced on Monday, which will see 36 teams rather than the current 32 compete from the 2024-25 season, each guaranteed at least 10 games per season, and he said the start date was too far away.

Madrid, Barcelona and all major European clubs have been hit heavily financially by the COVID-19 crisis, with major revenue streams such as matchday income cut off.

Perez said there was a danger that "all the clubs go bankrupt" unless there is immediate action.

Mikel Arteta claimed fan protests against Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke did not play on the minds of his players during an 1-0 defeat to Everton on Friday.

Over a thousand Arsenal supporters gathered outside Emirates Stadium to voice their dissent at Kroenke's role in the failed European Super League breakaway project.

Arsenal were one of the 12 founding members of the competition before they withdrew on Tuesday, apologising in an open letter to fans.

Arteta revealed his team had arrived early to avoid the protests, but they produced a meek display on the pitch as Bernd Leno's calamitous own goal handed Everton the points.

It was Arsenal's first Premier League defeat at home to Everton since January 1996, ending a 24-game unbeaten run against the Toffees at the Emirates or Old Trafford.

"No, no," Arteta told a media conference when asked if the defeat could be put down to the protests.

"We knew that was happening and we knew our fans wanted to express our feelings. We made our preparations with that in mind and that's not an excuse

"We got inside the stadium [early]. Obviously, the players know what is happening, they are all connected to social media. We let them know the reasons why they [the fans] were outside.

"I am desperate to have [the fans] back because we really need them. We have a really young team who has to experience the emotion, security and trust when you feel your people really behind you."

Arteta urged Arsenal's board and fans to rebuild their relationship, but did not address questions related to calls for Kroenke to go.

"Well I think it's a relationship that has to come together from both parties," Arteta added.

"Some probably giving some opportunities and the other ones showing that they want to be closer to them. I talk about what my experience is and what my relationship is and how involved they are.

"Now the biggest challenge is to get them in the stadium as quick as possible, and show that passion, togetherness and unity with the team because the team is desperate for them to be closer to us."

The Gunners have now lost seven games on their own turf in the Premier League this season – their most home defeats in a league campaign since 1992-93 (also seven).

They have also failed to score in eight Premier League games at home this season, twice as many as in the previous four campaigns combined.

Arteta described Arsenal's home form as "terrible" and "unacceptable" but criticised a VAR decision to overrule the award of a penalty earlier in the game.

Arsenal were awarded a spot-kick when Dani Ceballos went down in the box after a slight touch from Richarlison, but VAR deemed Nicolas Pepe was in an offside position in the build-up.

"This has been building up. Enough is enough. Today I had enough," Arteta said of the decision.

"We've had many of them that no-one explains. It affects a lot of people, our job and most important our football club."

Arteta added in an interview with Sky Sports: "To disallow a penalty 15 seconds before eight or nine touches [after Nicolas Pepe was offside] – I saw it 10 times and I don't get it.

"It can be taken the way they want. Zero control. Somebody has to explain that.

"We were the better team. We lacked some clear-cut chances and the edge in the final third. They are very well organised but we conceded the goal in the wrong moment and when we had the penalty but it wasn't given."

Spotify founder Daniel Ek has declared an interest in buying Arsenal if owner Stan Kroenke decides to sell the Premier League club.

Music industry billionaire Ek has been an Arsenal supporter since 1991, he revealed three years ago, choosing them as his English club to follow because fellow Swede Anders Limpar played for the Gunners.

The long-standing connection could see Ek make an offer for Kroenke's holding, should the 73-year-old American want to cut his ties to Arsenal.

Protests from Arsenal supporters outside Emirates Stadium on Friday evening, before their 1-0 home defeat to Everton, saw many calling for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment to leave the club.

The fans are angry that Arsenal signed up to the European Super League project, which has since apparently collapsed beyond retrieval after a massive backlash from supporters, players, coaches, politicians and the football authorities.

Ek made his announcement as those protests were carrying on in north London.

He wrote on Twitter: "As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for @Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I'd be happy to throw my hat in the ring."

Arsenal were one of six Premier League clubs to commit to the Super League, but two days after an initial announcement of their involvement all had withdrawn.

The 'closed-shop' element of the proposed new competition caused huge controversy, with supporters furious their clubs had joined the breakaway league.

Thanks to the success of music streaming service Spotify, Ek is said by Forbes to have a net wealth of around $4.7billion.

Chelsea "deeply regret" their decision to join the European Super League, though they have criticised some fans for directing abuse at club officials.

The Blues were one of 12 teams to join the proposed breakaway league, only to then change their decision within 48 hours.

Chelsea's withdrawal came amid pressure from the media, politicians, fellow clubs, UEFA, the Premier League and the Football Association (FA), while hundreds of supporters gathered outside Stamford Bridge prior to Tuesday's contest with Brighton and Hove Albion, with Petr Cech having to mediate with the protesters.

In an open letter to Chelsea's fans, the club's board and owner Roman Abramovic have offered their apologies, indicating they joined the group in order to keep in touch with their major rivals.

It stated: "Our ambition with Chelsea has always been to make it the best club in the world, both on the pitch and in how we work with, and give back to the community off it.

"The joint decision to join the European Super League was driven by this same ambition. When it became clear that a new league might be formed, we did not want Chelsea to miss out on the opportunity to play in such a potentially prominent league, nor did we want to risk the club falling behind our closest English and European rivals in competitive terms.

"As a club, we are committed to an open and regular dialogue with our fans and other stakeholders, but, on this occasion, regrettably, due to time constraints and confidentiality restraints, this was not achieved.

"We recognise we should have addressed these issues in advance of joining the group. The owner and board understand that involving the club in such a proposal was a decision we should not have taken. It is a decision we deeply regret."

Chelsea did, however, add that some of the debate had transitioned into abuse.

"The club does ask, however, that this dialogue is conducted in a respectful way," the statement continued.

"The abuse which some club representatives have been the target of over the past few days is not acceptable. Antisemitism, sexism, racism and threats of violence have no place in our community nor in this discussion.

"We hope that you will help us make sure that a respectful tone remains, even when we disagree."

Chelsea's London rivals Tottenham are facing a major fan backlash of their own, and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) demanded the club's executive board resign over the Super League episode.

THST called for "elected and accountable fan representation" on a new board, attacking those currently in office.

The Trust said in a statement: "The consequences of their decision to attempt to launch this breakaway league could now lead to substantial penalties against Spurs – points deductions, suspension from competition, financial penalties, other sanctions.

"They signed up to this plan knowing they risked all that, and knowing they risked their players being banned from international competition. The responsibility of the club's board is to always act in the best interests of THFC.

"The current board clearly has not acted in the best interests of the football club. In fact, its action could still lead to outcomes that are in the worst interests of THFC. We think their relationship with us is irreparably broken. And we think their continued presence risks punitive action being taken against the club.

"We believe the immediate resignation of the current executive board is in the best long-term interests of the club."

Chelsea "deeply regret" their decision to join the European Super League, though they have criticised some fans for directing abuse at club officials.

The Blues were one of 12 teams to join the proposed breakaway league, only to then change their decision within 48 hours.

Chelsea's withdrawal came amid pressure from the media, politicians, fellow clubs, UEFA, the Premier League and the Football Association (FA), while hundreds of supporters gathered outside Stamford Bridge prior to Tuesday's contest with Brighton and Hove Albion, with Petr Cech having to mediate with the protesters.

In an open letter to Chelsea's fans, the club's board and owner Roman Abramovic have offered their apologies, indicating they joined the group in order to keep in touch with their major rivals.

It stated: "Our ambition with Chelsea has always been to make it the best club in the world, both on the pitch and in how we work with, and give back to the community off it.

"The joint decision to join the European Super League was driven by this same ambition. When it became clear that a new league might be formed, we did not want Chelsea to miss out on the opportunity to play in such a potentially prominent league, nor did we want to risk the club falling behind our closest English and European rivals in competitive terms.

"As a club, we are committed to an open and regular dialogue with our fans and other stakeholders, but, on this occasion, regrettably, due to time constraints and confidentiality restraints, this was not achieved.

"We recognise we should have addressed these issues in advance of joining the group. The owner and board understand that involving the club in such a proposal was a decision we should not have taken. It is a decision we deeply regret."

Chelsea did, however, add that some of the debate had transitioned into abuse.

"The club does ask, however, that this dialogue is conducted in a respectful way," the statement continued.

"The abuse which some club representatives have been the target of over the past few days is not acceptable. Antisemitism, sexism, racism and threats of violence have no place in our community nor in this discussion.

"We hope that you will help us make sure that a respectful tone remains, even when we disagree."

Chelsea's London rivals Tottenham are facing a major fan backlash of their own, and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) demanded the club's executive board resign over the Super League episode.

THST called for "elected and accountable fan representation" on a new board, attacking those currently in office.

The Trust said in a statement: "The consequences of their decision to attempt to launch this breakaway league could now lead to substantial penalties against Spurs – points deductions, suspension from competition, financial penalties, other sanctions.

"They signed up to this plan knowing they risked all that, and knowing they risked their players being banned from international competition. The responsibility of the club's board is to always act in the best interests of THFC.

"The current board clearly has not acted in the best interests of the football club. In fact, its action could still lead to outcomes that are in the worst interests of THFC. We think their relationship with us is irreparably broken. And we think their continued presence risks punitive action being taken against the club.

"We believe the immediate resignation of the current executive board is in the best long-term interests of the club."

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal fans are the soul of the club as the Premier League side seek to rebuild relationships in the aftermath of the European Super League debacle.

Arsenal were one of six English top-flight teams to sign up to the doomed breakaway project, hastily withdrawing alongside all their Premier League counterparts on Tuesday amid a backlash from fans, players, football authorities and even national governments.

Chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and director Josh Kroenke received a severe grilling when attempting to apologise to an Arsenal fans forum this week and protests outside Emirates Stadium are expected to precede Friday's game against Everton.

Arteta, a popular figure during his playing days with the Gunners, insists the fans have the respect of himself and his players after making their voices heard during a tumultuous episode.

"We want to listen to them, we totally respect them. They've been loud and clear and they've been heard," he said.

"They're going to be heard all the time because they are the soul of this football club and the soul of this industry.

"We're going to try to do the best we can to make them proud all the time and make their lives better by playing the way we want to play, winning football matches and trophies.

"That's our responsibility. If they can help in any way it is by giving support to the team because that is going to have an immense effect. It is so powerful and they have to realise that."

If anything, the spectacle of fans congregating outside stadia makes Arteta pine for a return to pre-pandemic normality, describing football behind closed doors as a "different sport".

"I want fans, I want to have that feeling that we are competing and have feeling behind us," he added.

"If not, it is a different sport. Let's get back to where we were before the pandemic and enjoy football in a different way."

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