Chelsea, Manchester City pulling out of Super League; Man United top exec out (update)

Apr. 20, 2021 2:35 PM ETManchester United plc (MANU), PARAMANU, PARA, MVP, ASRAF, AFCJFBy: Kim Khan, SA News Editor46 Comments
  • Update 3:01 p.m. ET: Manchester United Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward is stepping down. Woodward was planning on leaving in the summer but the Super League controversy brought the situation to a head, ESPN reports.
  • Manchester United share are down 6%.
  • Woodward, a former J.P. Morgan banker, has been a controversial figure among fans of Man United, having advised on the leveraged takeover of the club by the Glazer family that saddled the team with a huge amount of debt. He has also been criticized for directing the clubs player transfer policy, despite no experience in soccer.
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  • The wheels may be coming off the proposed European Super League just days after the new venture involving some of Europe's biggest soccer clubs was announced.
  • Chelsea are preparing documents to withdraw from the league, according to the BBC, while tabloid The Sun says Manchester City is following suit.
  • That's two of the six English teams designated as founding members of the new league. The English teams in particular are facing a strong backlash from fans, who don't want to see a closed league similar to the NFL or NBA.
  • Chelsea players were met by protesting fans at their own stadium, Stamford Bridge, ahead of their match tonight with Brighton.
  • Chelsea is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Man City is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan.
  • Shares of Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), a major proponent of the league and owned by the American Glazer family, are down 3.3% at the lows of the day.
  • The new league is designed to challenge UEFA's Champions League tournament, which any top-flight team could technically qualify for.
  • ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) holds the rights to the Champions League games for U.S. viewing.
  • The FT reports that the league would impose a ceiling of 55% of revenue to be spent on players, transfers, agent fees and other sporting matters, while TV revenue would be more evenly distributed. That would be in line with a U.S. sports league model.
  • UEFA has threatened to stop the founding Super League clubs from playing in the Champions League semifinals this year, while FIFA has mooted a ban of players in the Super League representing their countries.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened a "legislative bomb" to stop English teams competing in the Super League.
  • The European soccer developments are of interest to holders of the Roundhill Pro Sports, Media & Apparel ETF (NYSEARCA:MVP). That fund holds positions in Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Turkey-trade Fenerbache Futbol, AS Roma (OTCPK:ASRAF), Turkey-traded Galatasaray Sport, Turkey-traded Trabzonspor Sporti, Hong Kong-traded Birmingham Sports and AFC Ajax (OTC:AFCJF). See a breakdown of MVP.

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