Manchester United's Joel Glazer Pens Response to Fans over Super League, Protests

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2021

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Manchester United executive co-chairman Joel Glazer wrote an apology to the club's fans' forum Friday following the failed effort to join the Super League, which reignited significant fan protests against his family's ownership of the club.

Glazer explained he wanted to "reiterate my sincere apology for the mistakes that were made" and promised the make the fans' forum a bigger part of future decisions:

"In particular, I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in. We also recognize the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle."

Sunday's scheduled Premier League match between United and Liverpool was postponed after supporters stormed Old Trafford to protest against the Glazer family's ownership of the club.

Last week, the club's fans told executive vice chairman Ed Woodward they rejected a previous apology from Glazer and remained "disgusted, embarrassed and angry" by the Super League plans, per The Athletic.

The independent Manchester United Supporters' Trust posted a reply to Glazer's latest statement, saying it "could in theory—and we emphasize in theory only—be a change in direction and approach by the owners." The statement continued:

"We will, however, determine our position based on the resulting actions rather than these words alone. We have seen empty words too many times previously. We will seek a mandate from our members and from the wider fanbase before proceeding. We only wish to engage in this process should our supporters want us to.

"The onus remains on the club to put right the problems of the past, not just the European Super League but the overall lack of communication and consultation by the owners."

The Super League called for 15 permanent members, including 12 involved in the initial planning—United and five of its Premier League rivals, three Italian clubs and three Spanish clubs—and three more high-profile teams from around Europe. Five qualifying spots would have been available annually.

It was promoted as a way to help the clubs financially following the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, but fans around Europe were outraged, seeing it as a greedy move by the clubs' owners that would eliminate the risk of them missing the UEFA Champions League each year to guarantee profits.

The Super League suspended operations just days after its announcement as several of the core clubs announced their intention to leave amid the backlash. UEFA also threatened to ban players on Super League teams from international competition, including the FIFA World Cup.

Glazer also said in his letter there's still a need to "make the game stronger and more sustainable over the long term" but noted they're planning to do so within the current Premier League and UEFA framework.

"In addition, I want to reassure you that my family and I care deeply about Manchester United and feel a profound sense of responsibility to protect and enhance its strength for the long-term, while respecting its values and traditions," he wrote.

Glazer also pledged a commitment to "further dialogue" with a plan to schedule a meeting with forum members following the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.


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