Mikel Arteta says Kroenkes have apologised to him over Super League

Arsenal boss accepts apology and defends club’s hierarchy under extensive questioning

Mikel Arteta: “They wanted me to pass on the message to the players. That’s all you can ask for. The way they’ve done it, I have to accept it completely.” File photograph: Getty Images

Mikel Arteta: “They wanted me to pass on the message to the players. That’s all you can ask for. The way they’ve done it, I have to accept it completely.” File photograph: Getty Images

 

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s owners have apologised to him for the disruption caused by the botched Super League plan, and accepts the club may have to face consequences for their role in an attempt to alter football’s status quo for good.

The Arsenal chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham, held a meeting with the squad and staff on Wednesday to offer his own apologies and Arteta said he received similar communication from the Kroenke family, whose ownership is coming under heavy fire.

“I spoke with them yesterday and those communications were in the same terms,” he said. “Obviously they have the maximum responsibility of running the football club and this is what they said. They apologised for disturbing the team, not having the capacity or ability to communicate in a different way earlier and explain the reasons why. They wanted me to pass on the message to the players. That’s all you can ask for. The way they’ve done it, I have to accept it completely.”

Taking those words at face value it is unclear whether the Kroenkes apologised for the concept of the Super League itself, which has caused enormous damage to relationships between the six breakaway clubs and their fans. Arteta accepted trust needs to be rebuilt but expressed hope that the anger could ultimately be harnessed positively.

“The fans have to express, that is their right and they have to do it freely,” he said. “For me, what it shows is the power and the capacity when they show that determination and passion to achieve what they want. If we can use this with our fans to support the team, I think that will be incredibly powerful and it will make us much, much stronger.

“So it’s time to leave them to express themselves and now, somehow, we have to engage them again, get them closer to us and believing in what we do.”

There are suggestions the clubs may face sanctions, whether domestically or on a European level, for their actions and Arteta said Arsenal would take any punishment if merited. “I don’t know the legal details to respond to that question,” he said. “Obviously, when you act and you make the decision, there are always consequences but I don’t know the extent of those consequences. I think here we have to understand the principle and the reasons why those clubs were trying to achieve something, but if it wasn’t done in the right way then there are always consequences and we’re going to have to accept any there.”

Arteta did not offer a substantial view on the Super League’s proposed setup or membership, although he did admit the ability to participate in competition “has to be earned” on the pitch. “The main reason why we are here is because we have the uncertainty of winning or losing, and we can dream,” he continued. “We can dream about winning against anybody, earning the possibility to be in a better place, and as well, the risk of being in a worse place.”

Arsenal’s players had endured a “big shock”, Arteta accepted, but he defended the club’s hierarchy under extensive questioning and said the potential defectors had ultimately “done the right thing” in making a U-turn in the face of supporters’ unrest.

“[THE FANS HAVE] sent probably the strongest message that has ever been sent in the football world,” he said. “We have to listen to them. We put it out and within 24 hours they killed the project. That’s a massive statement in the history of football.” - Guardian

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