Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, have been urged to reduce their stake in the club below 50% following the fall-out from the collapsed European Super League proposal.
Plans for a breakaway European competition fell apart this week following a huge backlash from supporters across the world, with United one of six Premier League clubs – alongside Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal – to withdraw their participation.
The proposed competition created uproar after plans to hand each of the founding clubs guaranteed annual entry, a majority closed shop tournament that handed Europe’s wealthiest clubs permanent entry.
The show of greed from the ownerships of Europe’s elite has also increased the spotlight on commercial investors, with several now facing pressure to move on following the events of the past week.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has spoken on investigating the legislations behind ownership of football clubs in the UK with the government understood to be considering a German 50+1 model during a review.
That ruling would mean members of each club – the fans – would retain a 50% voting right +1 share, handing greater control back to the supporters.
🚨 BREAKING: Lord O'Neill & Paul Marshall, who led an attempt to prise Manchester United from the Glazer family's control a decade ago have written a letter urging them to loosen their grip in the wake of this week’s European Super League debacle #mufc #mujournal
— United Journal (@theutdjournal) April 23, 2021
One group has already called for change at Manchester United with the ‘Red Knights’ – who attempted to take control of the club in 2010 – having written to co-chairman Joel Glazer demanding the ownership reduce their stake at Old Trafford.
In the letter, seen by Sky News, the campaigners have told the Glazers that the family should ‘should scrap the New York-listed club’s dual-class share structure and introduce a single class of voting stock’.
There is also a demand to reduce the family’s ownership down to a maximum figure of 49.9%, a drop from their current 75%.
The letter comes from Lord O’Neill – the architect of the initial Red Knights campaign a decade ago – and hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall, who write that by reducing their stake the Glazers will ‘encourage a broader group of investors to consider ownership in the club in the future if they have the same voting rights as everyone else, especially you and your five siblings’.
The Glazers have been a hugely unpopular ownership since their arrival at the club almost two decades ago and the latest calls point towards major change at Manchester United, with much-maligned executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward already confirmed to be leaving at the end of the season.