Monday 16 August 2021 2:46 pm

Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City among Super League rebels to return to European Club Association

Nine of the rebel football clubs who agreed to join a breakaway European Super League – including six Premier League sides – have rejoined the European Club Association (ECA).

The teams renounced their memberships of the influential group, which represents more than 200 of Europe’s leading clubs, as part of their decision to join the failed European Super League (ESL) in April.

But just five months later the clubs – AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – have been readmitted after pledging to work within current Uefa structures.

The move leaves Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid as the only teams still pursuing the European Super League project.

“The ECA Executive Board took into consideration the clubs’ acknowledgement that the so-called European Super League project was not in the interests of the wider football community and their publicly communicated decisions to abandon said ESL Project completely.

“The ECA Board also acknowledged the clubs’ stated willingness to engage actively with ECA in its collective mission to develop European club football – in the open and transparent interests of all, not the few.”

Plans for a European Super League collapsed within 48 hours of their announcement earlier this year when clubs began to back out.

The six English teams were quickest to climb down, despite the owners of Manchester United and Liverpool being among those to have championed the move.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain resisted pressure to join the breakaway.

Amid the fallout, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi replaced Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli as head of the ECA, meaning he also sits on the executive committee of governing body Uefa.

“This decision of the ECA Board marks the end of a regrettable and turbulent episode for European football and aligns with ECA’s relentless focus to strengthen unity in European football,” the ECA added.

“ECA can now proceed with renewed unity and solidarity to continue the important work needed to stabilise and develop European club football – at a time when this is needed the most.”