Ed Woodward has resigned as Manchester United executive vice-chairman, with the proposed European Super League seemingly on the brink of collapse.
The 49-year-old took the post at Old Trafford in 2013 and played a key role in the now stuttering Super League.
It is understood he will continue in his role with United until the end of 2021.
The closure of the New York Stock Exchange is expected to bring confirmation of the executive vice-chairman’s departure within the hour.
Woodward’s exit is understood to be amicable with the owners and reportedly unrelated to the Super League.
Whatever the reasoning behind his exit, he becomes the first high-profile departure since the divisive breakaway league was launched less than 48 hours ago.
United were among six Premier League clubs to join the 12-strong European competition, with club co-chairman Joel Glazer hailing it as a “new chapter” despite widespread condemnation.
Two of the six Premier League clubs are already set to withdraw from the competition, with Chelsea and Manchester City being the first to buckle.
Glazer was named as vice-chairman of the Super League, but UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin took aim at United’s chief executive Woodward.
“I didn’t have much contact with him but he called me last Thursday evening, saying that he’s very satisfied with the reforms, that he fully supports the reforms, and that the only thing he would like to speak is about financial fair play,” he said of talk about the new-look Champions League.
“And obviously he already signed something else.”
Former United captain Gary Neville responded to the news of Woodward’s departure by posting a waving emoji.
To The Super League 🥂 pic.twitter.com/zcHbsJ0DG0
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2021
More resignations to follow
Meanwwhile, former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness expects more resignations to follow that of Woodward.
Referring to the presence of the six clubs’ representatives at league meetings, Souness told Sky Sports: “For six months, nine months, they’ve been playing the game, knowing that next season won’t apply to them. It’s outrageous.
“How do they correct that situation? How can they ever go to one of those meetings again and sit there and be taken seriously? Ed Woodward’s just the beginning.”