Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has admitted “mistakes” were made in signing up to the failed European Super League and has promised fans to keep “pushing the envelope” to make the club the best in the world.
City were one of six Premier League clubs to sign up to a proposed breakaway league in April, alongside three Spanish clubs and three Italian.
The announcement sparked widespread protests from fans, football authorities and the British government, prompting City to pull out within 48 hours of the tournament’s unveiling.
The Premier League moved to avoid any future rebel leagues forming with a raft of measures including an owners’ charter which all club owners will be required to sign to avoid any future breakaway plots.
Al Mubarak admitted City’s shortcomings in signing up for the Super League – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur of England, Barcelona, Atletico and Real Madrid of Spain, and Italy’s Juventus and AC and Inter Milan were the others – and said the club would learn from its mistakes.
“I want to start with apologising to the fans,” Al Mubarak told City’s website. “I owe it.
“It was a mistake. I think in hindsight, the decision should have been from the beginning: a decision not to participate in this league.
“It was very difficult. It was not an easy decision to say ‘yes, no’ and ‘we’re in’ or ‘we’re out.’
“I’m not going to sit here and defend the reason why we did it. What I will do is: I will own it. I took a decision ultimately on this and I take full responsibility, and it was a mistake.”
Al Mubarak said he “regretted” City’s involvement and for the affect it had on City fans and called it a “big learning experience”.
“It was a decision based on a view, which was a mistaken view, this will improve and strengthen our position as a club. What it missed was an important aspect which is how the fans felt about it.
“We will learn from it, I have no doubt. Our fans appreciate the heart and spirit of everything we do.
“Our fans, I hope, will understand when we make such a mistake like this our heart was in the right place. Our assessment was wrong.
“We took a decision, I took a decision on this and I take full responsibility, it was a mistake.”
Al Mubarak also said that commitment to making City the biggest football club on the planet was as strong today as it was in September 2008 when Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed took ownership of the club.
It was the only blip on a campaign manager Pep Guardiola described as “exceptional” as City reclaimed the Premier League title, won a fourth successive League Cup and reached a first Champions League final.
He Said: “We will continue to push the envelope in everything we do. We want to be the best club in the world and to do so we have to disrupt and we will disrupt,” Al Mubarak said.
“In being disruptive sometimes you make mistakes. We have made mistakes in the past, we will make mistakes in the future, but we will do more right than wrong.
“We will be better, stronger and more successful. What I tell the fans on this is, to get to where we are today we have done a lot of things right and we have made a lot of mistakes. It’s part of growing and improving.
“You need to have the courage to make mistakes and to own up to these mistakes to go forward.
“If you go back 12 years ago where we started, to where we are today, we couldn’t have done the leaps we have made over the years without taking risks and without making mistakes, learning and coming back and constantly improving.”