Manchester City have become the first club to formally announce their withdrawal from the Super League, amid reports that Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are set to follow.
The club has released a statement on its website in the past few minutes, announcing their intention to withdraw.
“Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” read the short statement.
It is also being widely reported this evening that Chelsea are preparing the documentation ahead of their request to withdraw from the project.
Owner Roman Abramovich is understood to have driven the decision, having listened to fan protests and opted to pull out of the new European league plans.
Chelsea are the first of England’s ‘Big Six’ clubs to choose to quit the competition, which was only announced on Sunday night.
There were also reports that Atletico Madrid and Barcelona were set to withdraw while there were conflicting claims in Italy over whether Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli was still holding the role.
Abramovich’s motivations are thought never to have been about money, and the Blues are now understood to be preparing documents to withdraw formally from the competition.
Stamford Bridge chiefs were only thought to have signed up as a founder member of the Super League in order not to be left behind by the rogue breakaway.
But after resounding condemnation from across the political and sporting spectrum, Chelsea appear to have decided to pull out of the competition – less than 48 hours after it was announced.
Chelsea fans launched a mass protest outside of Stamford Bridge, with banners criticising the club for their decision to join the controversial Super League.
Scores of fans chanted, let off blue smoke bombs and marched around the west London ground, with police attempting to control the crowds.
Former Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech, now a technical advisor at the club, spoke to some supporters and could be heard saying “give everybody time” in a video posted on social media.