Old Trafford chief has say on new club World Cup
UNITED executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward commented on the proposed Club World Cup revamp during the club’s quarterly conference call.
Reports on Wednesday claimed United were one of 12 European teams due to be invited to play in a new 24-team Club World Cup. Fifa is supposedly eager to expand the current competition, staging it every four years, with the first being held in June 2021.
It would replace the current low-key version of the tournament – which United won in Japan in 2008 – and invitations would be extended to the European teams that have won the European Cup three times. The 24 participating clubs would share a prize fund of about £1.5bn, with the winner earning as much as £100m and a guaranteed minimum £50m just for taking part. A consortium of backers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Japan are said to have pledged the cash.
Woodward acknowledged the recent speculation over the Club World Cup and referred to the opportunity live broadcasting provides.
“Many of you will have seen reports of a 25bn offer to Fifa, 12bn of which is for four cycles of a revamped Club World Cup tournament between 2021 and 2033,” Woodward said in the question-and-answer session. “The merits and details are currently being considered by Fifa and other stakeholders and I don’t intend to go into them here.
“However, it highlights a few relevant points. It supports the view that on demand platforms will be the future of content consumption. Live compelling content will be a key battleground, the influences of which are successful. Content generators are uniquely placed to be the beneficiaires. We continue to believe live streaming content will become increasingly more valuable in the future.”
On Premier League television rights, Woodward commented: “Five of the seven rights deals have been sold to Sky and BT and the final two packages together with the Ireland rights are being sold now by the Premier League. We expect an update from the AGM (annual general meeting) in June, we expect a small reduction overall, but no current update on that.”
During the investors’ call, Woodward added: “If I can answer very simply and candidly, playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business.
“As another season nears its close, we have achieved our highest number of points and finish since 2012-13 and we look forward to another trip to Wembley. We anticipate another successful summer tour in the United States in preparation for the 2018-19 season.”