Ed Woodward, executive vice chairman of Manchester United, has been identified as the main ringleader behind plans to undermine the Premier League and Uefa.
Woodward resigned last night after the proposed European Super League, a breakway competition ringfenced for 12 clubs including United – fell through after Manchester City and Chelsea withdrew. He will stand down from his position at United at the end of the year.
According to The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell, a Premier League director said Woodward ‘”was the ringleader of all aggressive acts against the rest of our league. This was the latest. He had more up his sleeve too.”
‘Another of those who attended Tuesday’s Premier League summit of the 14 clubs said the prevailing mood was to question how Woodward and the others could “ever be trusted again”.
‘The talk was that they should still move to sanction individuals even if this crisis came to be averted, with legal recourse pertaining to the fit and proper person’s test being explored.’
According to Wikipedia, ‘The test, introduced in 2004, is mandated by the Premier League, the Football League, the National League and the Scottish Premier League. Anybody who takes over a club, runs one, or owns over 30% of its shares must be assessed.’ One of the tests that is applied is that the director cannot ‘have power or influence over another Football League club’, something that Woodward would almost certainly fail on given recent developments.
The fact that United sent out news that Woodward was set to step down anyway but that it had merely been accelerated seems hollow. Unless, of course, he was going to step down in order to become the CEO of the new Super League, as some rumours have suggested.
It is mindblowing to think that Woodward and his connection with investment bank JP Morgan, who underwrote the Glazer family’s scandalous takeover of United and were set to borrow money again to finance the ESL, was the criminal mastermind behind the whole project.
If this was all Ed’s idea, if it was he who persuaded Florentino Perez, Sheikh Mansour and all other nine participating clubs that this awful, closed shop super league would work, then it is no wonder he has resigned. He simply had to jump before he was pushed.