Manchester United will explore other options after failed project - Woodward 1

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Ed Woodward says he is ‘committed to exploring options’ following Manchester United’s role in the controversial Project Big Picture.

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The club, along with Liverpool, came up with proposals for a major power shift in the Premier League towards its big six clubs in exchange for what was billed as a rescue package for the EFL.

The hugely contentious proposals were blown out of the water at a top flight meeting last week, but Woodward has vowed to press ahead.

In a statement released alongside the club’s annual figures, which highlight the impact of Covid 19 on finances, the United executive vice chairman said: ‘Our focus remains on protecting the health of our colleagues, fans and community while adapting to the significant economic ramifications of the pandemic.

‘Within that context, our top priority is to get fans back into the stadium safely and as soon as possible. We are also committed to playing a constructive role in helping the wider football pyramid through this period of adversity, while exploring options for making the English game stronger and more sustainable in the long-term.

‘This requires strategic vision and leadership from all stakeholders, and we look forward to helping drive forward that process in a timely manner.’

United have extended their expiring shirt sponsorship with Chevrolet by six months, which is expected to net them an extra £11m. However, they announced a £23.2m loss for last season, which was also impacted 41.9 per cent drop in broadcasting income.

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Ahead of the pandemic, United had expected to bring in £560m to £580m of revenue compared with last year’s record £627.1m, with the drop thanks largely due to a lack of Champions League football last season.

However, the figures – for the fourth quarter and full financial year – show that Covid has had a £70m negative impact on turnover, which was £509m.

Only one Premier League home match, two top flight away matches and an FA Cup quarter-final were played over the fourth quarter period, which runs from April 1 to June 30. All of those were behind closed doors.

Woodward added: ‘On the pitch, we have strengthened the team over the summer and we remain committed to our objective of winning trophies, playing entertaining, attacking football with a blend of academy graduates and high-quality recruits, while carefully managing our resources to protect the long-term resilience of the club.’

The annual figures relate to 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

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