SPORTS AGENDA: European Super League plans exposed as a shambles as no plans were put in place to pick the five additional clubs outside of its 'founding members', while Petr Cech only spoke to protesting Chelsea fans as he arrived late to Stamford Bridge
The staggering incompetence behind the doomed European Super League can be demonstrated by the revelation that no plans were put in place for how the five additional clubs outside of the 'founding members' would be selected.
Aside from the so-called 'dirty dozen', along with three further shoo-ins, five extra clubs were to be chosen to take part in the competition each year.
However, sources have disclosed to Sports Agenda that the shambolic nature of the proposals meant that the plan was to launch first and then figure out at a later point how the additional outfits would qualify. Unbelievable.
Premier League comms chiefs left in 'horror and dread'
The lack of a communications strategy for the European Super League left many of the media staff at English clubs involved horrified. The plan was to drop the bomb on Sunday and then wait for two days until the dust had settled.
Despite pleas, there was no official spokesperson and nobody to at least attempt to defend the indefensible. When news was relayed to comms chiefs from Premier League sides the reaction was described as 'somewhere between abject horror and dread'.
Silence is deafening in the Premier League ESL WhatsApp group
A catch-up call between the clubs and the competition's PR firm, iNHouse, was initially scheduled for the Tuesday after the Sunday launch. Amid the ferocious backlash, it was put back to 8pm, by which time news had broken that Manchester City and Chelsea had pulled out with others about to follow suit.
Instead, there was silence on the WhatsApp group between the ESL's PR and the clubs, aside from a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek message asking: 'I guess this call isn't happening?'
English clubs overruled by European counterparts in ESL debate
English clubs had argued for as many as nine clubs to be allowed entry into the otherwise closed-shop ESL. They believed that the PR optics around the competition would be dreadful and advised that adding qualification spots might dilute the expected outrage.
However, despite a number of attempts and lengthy discussion they were over-ruled by their counterparts in Europe.
Why Cech got crowded out
Chelsea's Petr Cech has won praise in certain quarters after he was filmed pleading with protesting supporters outside Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Some believed the technical director had been sent out by the club to reason with those who had gathered while others have suggested he may have been behind the U-turn.
The reality, however, was that the former keeper had not arrived early enough to avoid the crowds and went to speak to them before entering the ground after he had been told the team bus was unable to get through. Indeed, unbeknown to Cech, the decision to pull out had already been made before his intervention.
2022 Commonwealth Games manufacturers open to auction
Given it is expected to cost Birmingham taxpayers £184million, it is perhaps unsurprising that officials behind the city's 2022 Commonwealth Games appear to be attempting to ensure that every penny counts. The organisers have taken the unusual step of opening the manufacturing of medals, ribbons and presentation boxes to tender.
Misleading spectator interest at the cricket?
All members who entered the MCC's ballot for attendance at the Lord's Test between England and New Zealand have been successful for every day for which they applied, which strongly suggests that interest was nowhere near as high as had been expected.
ESL organisers refuse to share figures, despite boasts
Organisers behind the ESL claimed that they had carried out a global survey which found that 70 per cent of respondents were in favour of its creation. However, they added that the information was private and would not be shared with media.
The botched ESL fallout continues to take many losses
Never has the phrase 'success has many fathers, failure is an orphan' been more pertinent. In the aftermath of the ESL's breakdown we heard sources claiming that Manchester United's Ed Woodward was only aware of the launch a day before it happened while ex-Downing Street adviser Katie Perrior's firm was allegedly only brought in 'hours before' kick-off.
Contrast that with the actions of one well-known PR executive who suggested that they had been advising UEFA on the matter. They had not - UEFA's response last week was entirely conducted with in-house resources.
Glazer's need a new safety blanket with Woodward's imminent United exit
Ed Woodward's pending departure from Manchester United presents yet another problem for the Glazer family. The club's controversial owners have often relied on their right-hand man to deal with messaging and the relationship with United's supporters.
For the first time in 15 years they will no longer have their safety blanket and his departure could not have come at a worse time for the Americans. Anti-Glazer sentiment has been re-ignited by United's involvement in ESL with protests already having taken place at the Carrington training ground and at Old Trafford. More are planned at the next home match with Liverpool as the fall-out from a spectacular own goal continues.
Woodward was not present on a Manchester United fans' forum on Friday, 48 hours before the ESL announcement was made. The forum did, however, hear a statement from the now-outgoing executive vice-chairman who made no mention of the pending bombshell in his 615 words.
Contributor: Tim Nichols