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Manchester United push to ensure Liverpool win Premier League at pivotal meeting

2 years ago

As the clearest sign yet of just how it is all about the bigger picture, it has been revealed that at Thursday meeting of Premier League clubs, it was Manchester United who were among the ‘most strident’ in being determined that this current season in completed, which would ensure Liverpool can pick up their first ever title of the Premier League era.

Any potential club rivalries failing to even register, as when it comes to how football deals with the challenges of the Coronavirus, the biggest priority is to complete the season to save all clubs from massive collective problems.

Ed Woodward was representing Manchester United at Thursday’s pivotal meeting and he made clear that even if it meant it being as late as seven months time (October 2020) for the Premier League to complete all 38 rounds of matches, then that is what must be done.

The information comes from a really interesting piece by The Athletic who had sources ‘Inside the Premier League’s coronavirus meeting’, relaying exactly what happened, in terms of how Newcastle United and the other 19 Premier League clubs decided on their best course of action.

Whilst Liverpool (25 points clear and nine games to play) would obviously win the title if the remaining games are played, Manchester United and the rest are very aware of the massive financial implications for all, and especially the richest, if the season isn’t concluded.

The 20 clubs could/would owe a collective £762m just to broadcasters, never mind league sponsors, whilst individual club sponsorship deals – especially for Manchester United, would surely involve further massive financial repercussions on top of the joint league ones.

As a source in the report sums up the consequences of the Premier League not being completed: ‘If we don’t put on the show we don’t get paid. If we don’t finish the season it’s a massive, massive problem.’

The Athletic report:

During the conference call there was a collective, concerted message that the 2019-20 season had to be finished.

Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, was among the most strident on this point. Described as being “very fair” in his wider input, Woodward was nevertheless firm in saying that even if the season had to run into September or October, that should be the course of action. There was no hint of trying to deny Liverpool a first title in 30 years, as might mischievously be proposed by some.

Uniting all those dialling in was the prospect of a massive financial penalty for failing to complete the season. As The Athletic revealed on Friday, executives were told that broadcasters such as Sky and BT Sport could demand a total of £762 million be returned if the campaign was curtailed, to cover the games still due to be shown on TV. It would be considered breach of contract.

There would be the prospect of negotiation on that figure, sources argue, given the Premier League’s importance to both channels — but it remains enough of a concern to bring a common consensus.

“There was a togetherness that we need to sort this out,” said a source. “Finance was the big motivator.”

This is not about greed, however. “Ultimately, we’re just businesses that make tiny profits,” said one Premier League executive. “If the cashflow dries up we’re no different to hotel groups or anything else. If we don’t put on the show we don’t get paid. If we don’t finish the season it’s a massive, massive problem.

“It’s not just the TV money — after that the sponsors won’t pay you because they’re not on TV…”


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