Ed Woodward has resigned from his role as chairman of Manchester United, according to reports. The controversial 49-year-old is said to have called it quits in the wake of Tuesday evening’s revelations that a number of European Super League clubs are set to withdraw from the competition.
United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham have been subjected to widespread criticism for their involvement in the plans, which look to be in disarray with a number of sides eager to pull out.
According to ESPN, Woodward was gearing up to leave his post at the end of the season in an unrelated move, but the events of the last 48 hours have accelerated his departure.
He was believed to be a major driving force behind the Super League proposals.
Woodward’s association with United began in 2005 when he acted as an advisor to help the Glazer family acquire the club.
He took charge of commercial and media operations two years later on the way to becoming the club’s executive vice-chairman as the Red Devils grew into one of football’s major financial players.
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His tenure was characterised by a sense of discontent from a significant number of United supporters, many of whom held the belief that he was largely responsible for the club’s failure to maintain their status as domestic and European heavyweights after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Woodward issued a statement last month outlining his ambitions for the club, suggesting that he was hugely optimistic about its future under his guidance.
“As we approach a full year since our last game with fans at Old Trafford, we reflect on an extraordinary challenging 12 months for football and society as a whole,” he said.
“The rapid rollout of vaccines in the UK and beyond gives us confidence that we are now on a path towards normality, including the return of fans to stadia.
“While the disruption to our operations remains significant, we are pleased by the tremendous resilience the club has demonstrated through the pandemic, underpinned by the dedication of our people and the strength of our commercial business.
“We have been reminded of the importance of football as a source of community, entertainment and pride to fans around the world, even as we have sorely missed them at Old Trafford.
“The progress made by Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and the players this season is clear and our thriving academy and women’s team are also adding to the optimism we feel about the future on and off the pitch.”
Woodward’s resignation is expected to be officially confirmed at around 9.00pm on Tuesday evening.
Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City and Real Madrid are believed to be preparing withdrawal requests to renounce their involvement the Super League, and it remains to be seen whether United will follow suit.
Red Devils co-chairman Joel Glazer has been a public proponent of the competition, stressing on Sunday evening that its inception would usher in a new era for all participating clubs.
“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,” he said in a statement.