Chelsea 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 pull out of the new European league plans.
Chelsea are the first of England’s ‘Big Six’ clubs to choose to quit the competition, which was only announced on Sunday night.
Manchester City have reportedly also withdrawn. The PA news agency has contacted City and the other four English clubs for comment.
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 decided to pull out of the competition – less than 48 hours after it was announced.
Chelsea fans launched a mass protest outside of Stamford Bridge, with banners criticising the club for their decision to join the controversial Super League.
Scores of fans chanted, let off blue smoke bombs and marched around the west London ground, with police attempting to control the crowds.
Former Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech, now a technical advisor at the club, spoke to some supporters and could be heard saying “give everybody time” in a video posted on social media.