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game over Super League implodes as Man City and Chelsea pull out and Ed Woodward quits at Man United

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Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was criticised by Ceferin for his part in the breakaway plans (PA)

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was criticised by Ceferin for his part in the breakaway plans (PA)

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was criticised by Ceferin for his part in the breakaway plans (PA)

The European Super League project has imploded less than 72 hours after it was announced, with Chelsea and Manchester City withdrawing and Manchester United executive vice-president Ed Woodward quitting his role at Old Trafford.

Chelsea 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.

Manchester City refused to comment on reports they too plan to quit when contacted by PA. A spokesperson said: “We cannot comment for legal reasons.”

With Chelsea and City backed by hugely wealthy owners, their drive to join the Super League was never motivated by money, but more a desire to ensure they were not left behind by the new league.

Now Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have reportedly also withdrawn, with the project now seemingly doomed after the football family united to halt the attempt to change the face for European football forever.

Amid a dramatic night of developments, Ed Woodward resigned as Manchester United executive vice-chairman, with his leading role in the Super League negotiations making his position untenable.

The 49-year-old took the post at Old Trafford in 2013 and was one of the most controversial leaders of a Premier League clubs in the years since.

It is understood he will continue in his role with United until the end of 2021, yet his reputation is shattered after the humiliating collapse of the Super League project.

Juventus Andrea Agnelli is also reportedly resigning from his position, after he played a central role in the Super League plans, with the abject collapse of the project certain to have weakened the clubs who attempted to breakaway.

They may now be forced to return to the negotiating table with UEFA over a revamped Champions League, with this brief and bitter war seemingly already producing a resounding victory for the game against those trying to change its DNA.

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