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Manchester United’s participation in the European Super League represents a dramatic U-Turn from comments made by executive-vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, just a few months ago.
United have been confirmed as one of 12 “Founding Members” of a new Super League, alongside AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Tottenham.
The 12 “Founding Members” – eventually rising to 15 – would all be guaranteed entry to the competition and with it receive a one-off payment of 3.5 billion euros.
There was widespread shock and disapproval when the plans were announced on Sunday evening, not least from those who remember Woodward’s stance on a proposed Super League in an interview from December 2020.
Back then, he told The Guardian: "Most of my time [regarding European competitions] is focused, through the ECA and the UCCSA [a joint-venture between the ECA and Uefa], on the strengthening of existing Uefa club competitions.
"The dialogue focuses on them continuing to be predominantly midweek games having little or no impact on the Premier League.
"We believe any changes to European competition post-2024 must be complementary to thriving domestic leagues.
"Other domestic leagues feel the same way, reflected in conversation with our counterparts in other clubs and countries."
Woodward also assured supporters in January that they would be at the centre of the club's thoughts – although no fans appear to have been consulted over plans for a Super League.
At the time, he said: "I can assure you that we will keep match-going fans firmly in the centre of thoughts."
United’s inclusion in plans for a breakaway European Super League have brought condemnation from all corners of the game, including Red Devils legend, Gary Neville.
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Alongside a stirring rant on Sky Sports on Sunday, he tweeted: "This lot think they can sweep up £300m more each season than the other teams and then wander back on a Saturday and play with that advantage in the PL .
"Deduct points , fine heavily and embargo transfers. I hope they haven’t bought some of the other 14 clubs".
All 12 clubs involved in plans for a European Super League also posted a statement to their club websites on Sunday night carrying quotes from Manchester United co-chairman, Joel Glazer.
Glazer said: "By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid."
Manchester United have since stood down from the European Club Association, with Woodward quitting his role at UEFA.
READ MORE:Neville says "relegate Man Utd" during emotional reaction
READ MORE:Sir Alex snubbed from Man Utd's Super League decision process
- Manchester United FC
- European Super League
- Premier League
- Gary Neville
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