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Arsenal boss Arteta on Super League collapse: Fans have sent the strongest message football has ever seen

11:23 BST 22/04/2021
Mikel Arteta
It took just two days for the loud voices of supporters to see clubs backtrack on joining a proposed Super League

Mikel Arteta says football fans have sent "the strongest message that has ever been sent" in response to the proposed European Super League.

The Arsenal manager was speaking for the first time since outraged supporters across the world brought an end to the Super League plans just 48 hours after they were first confirmed.

All six English clubs involved pulled out on Tuesday night amid widespread fury from their fans, with Arsenal apologising for what they accepted was a mistake.

And Arteta described the universal reaction to the plans as "a massive statement for the history of football".

What has been said?

Speaking about the response of supporters to the European Super League, Arteta said: “I think this has given big lessons and it shows the importance of football in the world.

“And it shows that the soul of this sport belongs to the fans - and that’s it. During this pandemic, for a year, we have been trying to sustain this industry with no fans in the stadium.

“But, when the fans have to come out and talk, they’ve done it really loud and clear, and they sent probably the strongest message that has ever been sent in the football world.

“And every club, leaving their interests apart, has done the right thing - which is, they are the ones (the fans), we have to listen to them, we put it aside and in 24 hours we kill the project.

“So that is a massive statement for the history of football."

When did he find out about the plan?

Arteta says he was informed about Arsenal’s inclusion in the Super League by chief executive Vinai Venkatesham just before the news officially broke on Sunday evening.

“I found out just a little bit before the news was leaked,” he said. “And then everything was completely out of control and the world reacted in a really unified manner.

“There was not really time to think about it, reflect and evaluate or anything because by the time that was out, a big tsunami already came onto it and basically killed it.

“Vinai spoke to me and explained a little bit what was happening. He was very clear and transparent with me. I understand the reasons why we could not know. We were not involved in the decision.”

What about the owners?

Stan Kroenke and his son Josh explained their reasons for joining the project during a conference call with Arteta on Thursday, the Arsenal boss confirmed.

“I had some communication with them as well, I spoke with them yesterday.

“As always, every time we need something and something is happening they are straight away ready to act, to give us the answers they can, the support they can, and they have done it again.

“All of them had the right intentions to defend the club and put the club in the best possible position for now and for the future but accepting that way it was handled has had terrible consequences and that it was a mistake.

“I have to really respect that when people have genuine intentions to do the best for the club and then they can stand up here and apologise.

“I think the players and the staff and everyone working at the club has to accept that and move on.”

Does he feel let down?

Despite admitting the whole thing had been a distraction, Arteta insists he does not feel let down by those in charge at Arsenal.

“No, I feel very supported by everybody at the club,” he said.

“I feel privileged, I will say it loud and clear, the way we have dealt with the pandemic internally, all the issues we have had have been unprecedented.

“I still see everyone coming here with smiles on their faces and happy to represent this football club and that for me is a big achievement and something I am really proud of because everyone is contributing to that from the top to the bottom.”

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