Tuesday , March 21 2023
Ed Woodward

Manchester United chief Ed Woodward quits UEFA role as club leaves European Club Association

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Manchester United are one of 12 founder members of the new breakaway European Super League, and they have also quit the European Club Association – despite Woodward having been involved at the heart of discussions over the revamping of the Champions League from 2024

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has stepped down from his UEFA role where he was on the Professional Football Strategy Council, while the club have also quit the European Club Association.

This latest twist comes after six English clubs joined with six others from Europe in announcing the formation of a European Super League.

AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs.

It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said the European Super League was not “good news for fans” and he would work with the football authorities “to make sure this doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed”.

JP Morgan also confirmed it was financing the deal.

Writing on Twitter, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said: “Absolutely against the sporting spirit, the dream of millions of fans to conquer the champions on the field, with planning, vision, work. Kill dreams of players and fans. The teams are fans and WE are custodians of the club.”

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the move goes against everything football is based upon and represents a huge threat to the Premier League.

Wenger, now FIFA’s chief of global football development, also believes the project will not get off the ground.

“I would say that it’s a bad idea,” he told talkSPORT. “Football has to stay united. That is the most important thing, and based on sporting merits and overall to respect the history of European football.

“I believe personally that this idea will not go far.”

Responding to the news Woodward has stepped down, Wenger added: “I don’t know exactly what is behind that.

“I believe as well there’s a more dangerous idea behind (it) that is a big threat for the Premier League. When I was still in charge there was a lot going on from other countries to try to diminish the dominance of the Premier League and a project like that would certainly accelerate that.

“I don’t know what’s going on (at Arsenal). That doesn’t change what I think. For me the most important thing – I tried for my whole life to keep unity in the game, and that football is played the same all over the world, and that it’s inside one organisation.

“I think it was the strength – football is the most popular sport in the world and this is one of the reasons. We have to fight to keep football simple, understandable, and based on merits, and (so) everyone has the same chance and dream to be successful.”

Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke has said his club are focused on Champions League reform, not a Super League.

“The members of the board of the European Club Association (ECA) got together for a virtual conference on Sunday evening and confirmed that the board decision of last Friday is still valid,” said Watzke on his club’s website.

“This decision means that the clubs want to implement the planned reform of the UEFA Champions League. It was the clear opinion of the members of the ECA board that the plans to found a Super League were rejected.”

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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