MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 07:23:54| >> :120:40747:40747:

Chelsea "deeply regret" decision to sign up for European Super League

Chelsea
© Reuters
The Blues issued a lengthy statement about their decision to join the breakaway competition on Friday night.

Owner Roman Abramovich and Chelsea's board "deeply regret" their decision to join the European Super League.

Chelsea issued a lengthy statement on Friday night, laying bare their reasoning for joining the short-lived project.

The Blues have admitted their error in joining the Super League on Sunday, only to withdraw on Tuesday night following extended supporter protests.

"The owner and board understand that involving the club in such a proposal was a decision we should not have taken," the statement read.

"It is a decision we deeply regret."

Chelsea insist they reluctantly joined the breakaway Super League project in order to keep the Stamford Bridge club among the world's elite, but pulled back having heard the depth of fan unrest.

Blues supporters flocked to Stamford Bridge ahead of Tuesday's Premier League clash with Brighton, protesting against the Super League.

Petr Cech attempts to speak to fans protesting outside Stamford Bridge
Petr Cech attempts to speak to fans protesting outside Stamford Bridge (Ian West/PA)

Technical director Petr Cech spoke to fans directly on Fulham Road, while scores of police contained the protests. But then, ahead of a delayed kick-off, Chelsea had signalled their intent to quit the controversial competition.

"We have taken time since withdrawing from the ESL to speak directly to various supporter groups and listen to their views and concerns," read the Chelsea statement.

"Our ambition with Chelsea Football Club has always been to make it the best club in the world, both on the pitch and in how we work with, and give back to the community off it."

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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