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Tuesday, 01 December 2020

Manchester United dismiss Super League reports, say they are focused on UEFA talks

Reuters , Wednesday 21 Oct 2020
Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - June 24, 2020 Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward sat in the stands wearing a face mask, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Michael Regan/Pool via (REUTERS)
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Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on Wednesday dismissed reports that the club were part of a plot to form a breakaway European Super League, saying they were focused on official talks with UEFA over the future of the Champions League.

A report from Sky Sports on Tuesday said United, Liverpool and other top European clubs were working on a project to create a breakaway European league.

“I saw the reports on that and candidly don’t know where that story came from, there isn’t really anything for us to say,” Woodward said on a call with investors.

Woodward said that the club was, as a member of the European Club Association (ECA), engaged in the formal talks with UEFA over the format for the Champions League from 2024.

“With those two entities, ECA and UEFA, (we are) talking about potential changes to the Champions League from ‘24 onwards,” said Woodward.

UEFA are strongly opposed to any Super League but have been openly engaged in talks over reforms to the Champions League structure.

“I think two or three days ago in the press there was a story about whether the Champions League may go to 36 teams. They are the conversations we are actively involved in,” Woodward said.

Last week, United and Liverpool’s proposals for changes to the structure and revenue distribution in English football were leaked and then rejected by Premier League clubs.

But Woodward said the club would play a leading role in the strategic review announced by the Premier League and talks about financial assistance for lower-league clubs, badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We strongly believe in supporting the English football pyramid, both in the short term, to address the issues created by COVID-19, and in the long term, to improve financial sustainability at all levels of the game,” he said.

“We must ensure that the huge success of the Premier League is reinforced while ensuring that the wider football pyramid continues to thrive in a rapidly changing media environment.”

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