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Manchester United and Juventus shares crash as European Super League falls apart

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Suban Abdulla
·3 min read
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WATCH: What the collapse of the European Super League means for football and the clubs involved

Shares in Juventus (JUVI.MI) and Manchester United (MANU) sunk on Wednesday as plans for a breakaway European Super League (ESL) featuring the two teams fell apart following a public backlash. 

The two football teams were part of a group of 12 European clubs that banded together to form a breakaway midweek competition to rival the UEFA Champions League.  

The move would have seen guaranteed spots for clubs each year, similar to the American football or basketball leagues, and could have secured potentially billions in income for its founding members.

Announced on Sunday, the plans had largely collapsed by Tuesday evening after the Premier League’s big-six clubs pulled out. Clubs withdrew following a large-scale and scathing backlash from the public, politicians, and many players.

LYON, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 26: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Christiano Ronaldo of Juventus Looks on during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Olympique Lyon and Juventus at Parc Olympique on February 26, 2020 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Christiano Ronaldo of Juventus. Photo: Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

READ MORE: The money behind the European Super League: JPMorgan

Chelsea and Manchester City were the first to withdraw, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Man U and Tottenham following soon after. Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid followed on Wednesday morning. Spanish teams Barcelona and Real Madrid are also reportedly close to announcing their exit from the competition.

The ESL — rocked by the departure of the English clubs — said it would focus on efforts to "reshape the project".

"Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community," the group said.

WATCH: James Corden saying he is 'heartbroken' by future plans of the European Super League goes viral

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli — a key figure in the project — admitted on Wednesday that the ESL was dead in the water.

"I don't think that project is now still up and running," Agnelli, one of the chief architects behind the breakaway competition, said according to the BBC.

The collapse hit the share price of publicly listed teams involved in the project.

US-listed Manchester United crashed 6% on Tuesday and was down another half a percent in the pre-market in New York on Wednesday morning. The club announced the departure of long-time executive Ed Woodward on Tuesday night. Woodward has long been the public face of the club's boardroom.

Chart: Yahoo Finance
Manchester United shares slumped on Wednesday after rising more than 10% on Monday after the ESL proposals were announced. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Shares in Juventus, dropped over 12% in Milan on Wednesday morning.

"It’s been a total debacle for the clubs – investors may be cautious about investing in football teams, they usually are," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com. 

Shares in both Juve and Man U had rallied on Monday following the initial announcement of the ESL on Sunday.

The European Super League was to be financed by US investment bank JPMorgan (JPM). Shares in the bank were slightly higher in the pre-market in New York.

Under the terms, the founding members will receive €3.5bn ($4.2bn, £3bn) to support infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the coronavirus crisis. 

JPMorgan has not yet announced whether it will stop financing the ESL or what its plans are moving forward. The bank has been contacted for comment.

WATCH: Liverpool FC Owner Apologizes to Supporters Over Super League Plan