Berlin (STATS Perform/dpa) – Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has applauded fans for killing the proposed European Super League with what he felt was arguably the “strongest message ever sent in the football world”, likening the response to a “tsunami”.
The Gunners were one of the 12 founding members of the planned Super League, a closed-shop competition that was announced on Sunday after years of speculation.
But the project never got off the ground as, within 48 hours of it being revealed, the plans were left in ruins as the six Premier League clubs pulled out.
Arteta, addressing the media for the first time since the initial announcement, applauded the actions of supporters in forcing the U-turn.
He said: “I think this has given a big lesson. It shows the importance of football in the world, and shows that the soul of this sport belongs to the fans, and that’s it.
“We’ve been trying to sustain this industry with no fans in the pandemic, but when they have to come out and talk, they do so loud and clear and they sent probably the strongest message that has ever been sent in the football world.
“In 24 hours they killed the project, it’s a massive statement for the history of football.”
Arsenal were the first to issue an apology to supporters as they published an open letter from the board when their withdrawal was confirmed, while Arteta confirmed all club officials involved have apologised to him and the players.
Asked if an internal apology had been communicated, Arteta said: “Yes, from Vinai [Venkatesham, CEO], the ownership and everyone involved in the process, all of them with the right intentions to defend the club put the club in the best position for now and future, but accepting the way it has been handled has had terrible consequences and that it was a mistake.”
As for communication from the Kroenkes, the family that owns the club, Arteta added: “Absolutely [they apologised], they are the maximum responsible to run the football club.”
It remains to be seen if there will be any punishment for Arsenal and the other clubs involved, as points deductions, fines and Champions League bans have all been mooted.