Ed Woodward: ‘Project Big Six’ was not a power grab

Ed Woodward strongly denies that Project Big Picture was a ‘power grab’.

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman says existing competitions are the focus and that the club would not take part in any mooted European breakaway league.

As a board member of the European Club Association, Woodward is involved in the ECA’s collaborative partnership with Uefa on improving existing competitions. We can’t say what exactly that means for the Champions League, but an extension has been widely touted for some time.

Speaking to a fans’ forum on 20 November — via Zoom — Woodward said: “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.”

There was more talk about a breakaway when Joseph Maria Bartomeu announced he was leaving his position as Barcelona president. He said in his final speech as club president that the club’s board had “agreed to accept the conditions required to participate in a future European super league, a project led by Europe’s big clubs”. (via BBC Sport)

Woodward defended United’d involvement in the now-abandoned Project Big Picture plan to reshape English football, which would’ve seen the Premier League voting control be held by the big six clubs, and share 25% of future TV revenue with the EFL.

“It is not a behind-closed-doors power grab,” Woodward added.

“A strong Premier League and a financially sustainable and robust pyramid are both crucial to the health of the national game, and that’s the principle we will continue to pursue.

“These objectives were at the heart of our involvement in Project Big Picture.”

Read more: Solskjaer has Ed Woodward’s backing at Manchester United

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