Arsenal chief directly addresses players over European Super League plot

 Arsenal Chief Executive Vinai Venkatesham at London Colney on September 10, 2020 in St Albans, England.
Vinai Venkatesham spoke with Arsenal players (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal’s chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has reportedly called the playing squad together to apologise for the club’s involvement in the European Super League (ESL).

The Gunners were one of 12 teams who signed up for the ill-fated ESL before withdrawing 48 hours after the competition was publicly announced.

A backlash from players, fans, media, politicians and managers coerced the English clubs into backing out of the proposal and Arsenal sent a public apology to their fanbase.

Behind the scenes, Venkatesham spoke to the Arsenal players at their London Colney training base to address their concerns, according to the Mirror.

He explained the club’s position to players and coaching staff and explained they had been unable to inform the wider group of plans because of legal complexities of the breakaway group.

Venkatesham apologised for the club’s involvement and took questions from players.

He offered to speak to any player on a one-on-one basis to further discuss the matter, while also speaking to wider club staff and reiterating the apology.

Hector Bellerin and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were among the players who spoke out against the ESL, with Bellerin chosen to represent the club at the now-cancelled Premier League captains’ meeting, which was called to decide on the player body’s response.

Players were left furious that a move they knew nothing about saw them threatened with being banned from playing with their national teams and there was understandable concern over why their owners had signed up to such a destructive idea.

Arsenal’s players were urged to focus on the crucial season run-in, with Arsenal still in contention for European qualification through the Premier League and for silverware in the Europa League.

Should they win Europe’s secondary competition, they would automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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