Chelsea and Manchester City are preparing to withdraw from the Super League, the PA news agency understands.
Owner Roman Abramovich is understood to have driven the decision, having listened to fan protests and opted to withdraw from the new European league plans.
Chelsea have become the first of England’s ‘Big Six’ clubs to choose to quit the competition, which was only announced on Sunday night.
Abramovich’s motivations are thought never to have been about money, and the Blues are now understood to be preparing documents to withdraw formally from the competition.
Stamford Bridge chiefs were only thought to have signed up as a founder member of the Super League in order not to be left behind by the rogue breakaway.
But after resounding condemnation from across the political and sporting spectrum, Chelsea appear to have now decided to pull out of the competition – less than 48 hours after it was announced.
City would not comment on reports they could withdraw from the breakaway competition when approached by the PA news agency.
A City spokesperson said: “We cannot comment for legal reasons.”
Sports lawyer Jonny Madill, of Sheridan Sports, spoke to breakingnews.ie about the contractual obligations of the clubs and players involved and what the legal ramifications could be.
“There is a whole raft of complex legal nuances at play here, but my view is that this is probably more likely to be resolved through political negotiations, if you like, between the stakeholders rather than being played out in a legal dispute,” Mr Madill said.