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Liverpool owner Henry apologises to fans after Super League turmoil

FOOTBALL By Reuters | April 22nd 2021
Football - Twelve of Europe's top football clubs launch a breakaway Super League - Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2021. A woman walks past anti Super League banners outside Anfield as twelve of Europe's top football clubs launch a breakaway. [REUTERS/Phil Noble]

Liverpool owner John Henry apologised to supporters and to manager Juergen Klopp on Wednesday for the "disruption" caused by the club's involvement in the breakaway European Super League project.

Liverpool were among the six Premier League clubs who signed up for the Super League but withdrew on Tuesday amid a storm of protests from fans, players, managers and governments, alongside threats of bans and sanctions from the game's European and world governing bodies UEFA and FIFA.

"I want to apologise to all the supporters of Liverpool for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours," Henry said in a video on the club's website.

"It goes without saying, but should be said, that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans. Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you."

Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Norwich City - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - August 9, 2019. Liverpool owner John W. Henry before the match. [Reuters/Carl Recine/File Photo]

The Super League, which was announced on Sunday with 12 founding members, has been championed by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, the new competition's chairman.

But following the withdrawal of the six English clubs, it is left with three Italian sides -- AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan -- plus Perez's Real Madrid along with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain.

Those numbers look set to be thinned further with a source close to Inter Milan telling Reuters on Wednesday they were no longer interested in the Super League project "in light of the latest developments".

Manchester City were the first to back out of the venture and then Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur announced they were following suit.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, center, is challenged by Leeds United's Pascal Struijk, left and Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips during the English Premier League soccer match between Leeds United and Liverpool at the Elland Road stadium in Leeds, England, Monday, April 19, 2021. [Paul Ellis/Pool via AP]

Liverpool players, including captain Jordan Henderson, had voiced their concerns about the breakaway league on Tuesday, while club great Kenny Dalglish also encouraged them to withdraw.

"I want to apologise to Juergen ... to the players and to everyone who works so hard to make our fans proud," Henry said. "They have absolutely no responsibility for this disruption.

"In this endeavour I’ve let you down. Again, I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days."

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