London (AFP) – Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer has “apologised unreservedly” for his club’s role in the failed plan to launch a breakaway European Super League.
United were one of 12 top European clubs to sign up to the controversial competition on Sunday.
They hoped to use the tournament to control a greater share of profits from European football at the expense of UEFA’s Champions League.
But just two days after its launch, the Super League collapsed on Tuesday evening when United and the five other Premier League teams involved all pulled out after a furious reaction from across the football world.
Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal were the other English teams to withdraw, while Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan also admitted defeat on Wednesday.
United’s owners, the US-based Glazer family, were criticised by fans, former players and pundits for driving the scheme.
The backlash against United was so severe that Joel Glazer, who rarely discusses the club in public, opted to write an open letter saying sorry to fans on Wednesday.
“Over the past few days, we have all witnessed the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club,” Glazer wrote on United’s website.
“You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.
“Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.
“We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.
“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.
“This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days. It is important for us to put that right.”
In the fall-out from the bombshell scheme, United announced on Tuesday that their executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will leave the club at the end of the year, although the statement announcing his departure made no reference to the Super League.
Glazer had been named vice-chairman of the Super League before its collapse.
Pledging to communicate better with fans in future, Glazer added: “Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values.
“We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club.”
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