Monday 26 April 2021 / 7:39 AM Jo Stevens / Sport

Boris Johnson has questions to answer after reports he privately backed European Super League

Jo Stevens has written to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case for a second time to call for the minutes of any meeting and any correspondence surrounding the Prime Minister’s knowledge of plans for a European Super League.

It comes after the revelations that Manchester United FC Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward was given the impression by Boris Johnson and officials that they backed the ESL when he visited Downing Street shortly before the ill-judged project’s launch.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also asked for answers to the following questions:

  1. When was the meeting with Ed Woodward that took place on 14 April 2021 arranged?
  2. In what capacity was Ed Woodward attending the meeting?
  3. Who else was present at the meeting?
  4. Will you publish any correspondence relating to the meeting?
  5. Was anyone from the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport present at the meeting?
  6. What meetings have taken place between a) The Prime Minister and his officials b) DCMS ministers and officials, and representatives of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City Football clubs?
  7. Please publish any correspondence relating to these meetings
  8. What discussions took place at any meetings?

 

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Jo Stevens said:

“Yet again Boris Johnson’s integrity and honesty are in question.

“The public has a right to know what exactly was promised to Manchester United by both officials and the Prime Minister.

“If Boris Johnson gave the European Super League his backing and then publicly turned on the plan then the British people deserve a full, clear and immediate explanation and apology.”

 

 

 

 

Full text of the letter to Simon Case:

Dear Simon,

Further to my earlier letter dated 23 April, I am writing with more questions surrounding the visit to Downing Street by Manchester United FC Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward ahead of the announcement of the ill-judged European Super League. The reports today in the Sunday Times indicate huge discrepancies between what Downing Street has said on the record and what sources have told journalists.

 

According to sources referred to in the newspaper, Mr Rosenfield’s “conversation with Woodward emboldened English clubs to back the scheme.” The newspaper adds “sources accept that Woodward may have briefly met Johnson and left with the wrong impression that he was in favour of the proposal. Indeed within hours of the Super League proposal being revealed, Johnson publicly opposed it”. This revelation raises huge questions about the honesty and integrity of the Prime Minister and the government more widely.

 

Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made very public and vocal statements condemning the European Super League. The public would rightly expect that any public comments made by the Prime Minister – especially when he was so robust in his condemnation – would reflect the feeling he expressed in a private meeting. The suggestion that Mr Woodward understood the Prime Minister to back the scheme is deeply damaging and we need on the record comment about this rather than source quotes in a newspaper.

 

I have already written to ask you to publish the minutes of the meeting in order to clear up any accusations of hypocrisy.

 

I would also be grateful if you could answer the following questions:

  1. When was the meeting with Ed Woodward that took place on 14 April 2021, arranged?
  2. In what capacity was Ed Woodward attending the meeting?
  3. Who else was present at the meeting?
  4. Will you publish any correspondence relating to the meeting?
  5. Was anyone from the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport present at the meeting?
  6. What meetings have taken place between a) The Prime Minister and his officials b) DCMS ministers and officials, and representatives of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City Football clubs?
  7. Please publish any correspondence relating to these meetings
  8. What discussions took place at any meetings?

 

Yours sincerely,

Jo Stevens MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport