Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will step down from his role at the end of 2021.
The announcement came before Manchester United, along with the other five Premier League sides involved in the proposed European Super League (ESL), withdrew from the competition. The planned breakaway league has received widespread condemnation. Woodward, 49, joined United in 2005 and has been in his current role since 2012. He was set to leave at the end of the year but the decision to announce his departure has been brought forward. “I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world’s greatest football club for the past 16 years,” said Woodward. “The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.” After plans for the ESL were announced on Sunday, Woodward stepped down from his role on UEFA’s Professional Football Strategy Council. Woodward had significant input into the discussions around a revamped Champions League on Friday. UEFA had hoped the new 36-team Champions League, which was agreed on Monday, would stave off any breakaway Super League, but the controversial competition was announced on Sunday. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was critical of Woodward, saying that the United man was “very satisfied” with the reforms when they last spoke on Thursday evening. Ceferin added that Woodward only wanted to to discuss financial fair play but “obviously he already signed something else”. Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer was set to be a vice-chairman of the Super League.