Five of the biggest clubs in the UK Premier League, including Manchester United, are believed to have held a secret meeting in London on Tuesday. The purpose of that meeting has largely been kept secret by officials from the clubs, but it’s believed to be around the summer’s International Champions Cup and the clubs’ shared interest of changes to European football that could be in the pipeline.
The meeting was something of a luxurious affair and saw representatives from Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool all meet at the five-star Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, which has long been a popular meeting place for British football club executives. The representatives from those clubs were pretty big names too, including Ed Woodward, Old Trafford’s vice chairman. Also invited was Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, along with the chief executive of Arsenal Ivan Yazidis, chief of Man City, Ferran Soriano, and, of course, Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre.
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Also meeting with representatives from the aforementioned cubs was Stephen Ross, an American billionaire who you likely know as the name behind the Miami Dolphins. He also created the International Champions Cup in the United States, China, and Australia.
Some of the topics on the table during the meeting are thought to include the possibility of a European Super League, which Stephen Ross would of course be involved in. Also discussed was the possibility of matches being played abroad during the Premier League season. The talks between five largely rivalling clubs come as other clubs across Europe push for the way in which the sport is played across the continent. Considering those changes could affect many of the clubs’ standing in the Champions League, this is certain to worry many of those big names.
As mentioned, Stephen Ross is likely a name you already recognize as the owner of Miami Dolphins. His estimated wealth is believed to be more than £3 billion, largely down to his contribution to football in both America and abroad. He again became pretty prominent back in 2012 as a high-profile supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and was believed to be one of the campaign’s biggest donors and contributors.
British football fans will, of course, be concerned about what Stephen Ross’ meeting with the leaders of their biggest football clubs could mean. Could talks also be under way for Ross to purchase one or more of those clubs? Only time will tell, but Ross certainly has the knowledge and money to turn the fortunes of any club around, including Manchester United, which is largely considered to be struggling to stay afloat.
Either way, executives from some of the UK’s biggest rivalling clubs is certainly a big step forward for British football. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how fans of those respective clubs take to the news of executives working together. However, considering the effect that European football changes could have on British clubs, we’d expect to see such clubs working together even more closely in the future. That being said, Stephen Ross’ appearance at the meeting is certainly an interesting development, one that will leave many fans pondering over what he was really looking to get out of that meeting.
For now, though, there are some big changes ahead for many British clubs in football, not least of all for Manchester United. Clubs working together like never before is certainly a big step forward, especially when the international football scene appears to be so rocky.
[Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]