Manchester United do not want plans for a European Super League (ESL) to be revived, according to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has, however, refused to abandon the proposals but Woodward, speaking at a fans’ forum on Friday, insists United will not be a part of the venture even if it is resurrected.
“I know that you will feel angry and let down by the lack of consultation and by the way the proposal failed to recognise the vital principle of open competition,” Woodward said.
“Proper discussion would have helped us avoid the mistake we made. We failed to give enough weight to the essential principles and traditions of sporting merit which are so vital to football not just in domestic competition but in European competition since the mid-1950s.
“We want to restate our commitment to those traditions. I can assure you that we have learned our lesson from the events of the past week and we do not seek any revival of the Super League plans.”
Following the ESL’s collapse, Woodward announced that he would resign from his position after eight years at the club. Sources at United told ESPN that his decision wasn’t linked to the fallout of the breakaway proposal.
United are expecting around 10,000 supporters to protest against the owners, the Glazer family, and the attempt to join the ESL ahead of Liverpool‘s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Woodward told fans at the forum the Glazers will make money available to strengthen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad but also hinted at “long-term” challenges that will have to be addressed in the future.
“Manchester United is fortunate to be in a relatively stronger position than many clubs because of the resilience of our self-sustaining model,” he added.
“We have a disciplined, long-term approach which has allowed us to navigate the pandemic, while continuing to invest in the team, which we will continue to do this summer.
“We will now continue working with the rest of the football community to address the long-term challenges facing the game.
“But I can assure you that we will be doing that with great sensitivity to the opinions that you and other fans have expressed in recent days.”
A club spokesperson said: “Senior club leaders, including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, met with our fans’ forum this morning [Friday] to discuss concerns related to the abandoned proposals for a European Super League.
“Ed reiterated our apology for the mistakes made and we listened carefully to the strong views eloquently expressed by the fan representatives. We remain committed to engagement with the fans’ forum to ensure that fan interests are understood and respected in future.”
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