Did Downing Street help greenlight the Super League fiasco?

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, jumped on the anti-Super League bandwagon last week in full voice.

Johnson labelled the 12 clubs who wanted to join the Super League as a “cartel”, while he also suggested the UK government would impose legislation to ban the league.

🗣 “How can it be right to have a situation which you create a cartel that stops clubs competing against each other.”

Boris Johnson discusses bringing in a legislation in response to the ‘European Super League’ pic.twitter.com/P5VZF26zkZ

— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 20, 2021

However, in recent days, Downing Street’s position on the Super League has become far murkier.

The Sunday Times revealed that Johnson’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield, met with Man United CEO Ed Woodward days before the Super League announcement.

While No 10 asserts that Woodward and Rosenfield, who is also a Man United fan, spoke mainly about the return of fans into stadia, it’s since been reported that the Super League came up too.

Did the PM give Man U supremo Ed Woodward the impression that he supported a ‘super-league’ when they spoke during meeting Woodward had with No10 Chief of Staff Dan Rosenfield days before ESL launch?
Michael Gove told @rach_hopkins today the No10 meeting was about other matters pic.twitter.com/gbf63Uge44

— Dan Roan (@danroan) April 26, 2021


In today’s Times, readers are told:

The Manchester United executive Ed Woodward did not inform the Premier League that he was meeting officials at No 10 in the days leading up to the launch of the European Super League.

The Sunday Times has quoted sources saying that Woodward felt “emboldened” after the meeting, which included a brief introduction to Johnson, to proceed with the Super League’s launch, which precipitated the biggest crisis in the game for decades.


Interesting snippet from The Sunday Times re Boris and the Super League. Did Ed Woodward think he had PM’s blessing for ESL plans? pic.twitter.com/jWS5i01PhS

— Gary Lager (@Garrardinho) April 25, 2021


Dan Rosenfield’s father-in-law, Alex Brummer, penned a full-throttled pro-Super League story in the Mail

New York Times reporter, Tariq Panja, has been at the forefront of the Super League story in recent weeks. Indeed, the NYT writer helped break the story at its outset.

Today, Panja has noticed that while most of the English press were wholly against the ESL, one writer did come out in favour of the idea.

That writer? Alex Brummer, who just happens to be the father-in-law of Downing Street’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield.

Pure coincidence? Small world?

Fancy that: pic.twitter.com/2DlWsXXiFl

— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) April 26, 2021

It’s worth considering why Alex Brummer believed the Super League was a good idea.

Brummer alleged that the Super League would counterbalance the “greed” within the Premier League at large, while the ESL would also stick it to overpaid footballers. Brummer wrote:

Greed within the Premier League establishment has never been more obvious than in the pandemic. Instead of overpaid players and management making salary sacrifices and giving back to communities, it took an individual player, Marcus Rashford, to make a stand on child poverty…

They could be making a better public interest case if more of the enormous TV cash were being shared with lower leagues, football academies and the grassroots rather than spent on divisive £300,000-a-week salaries.

Will the lesser clubs be forever blocked from the top flight? No, as there will be at least five wild card places open each season.

Bring on the Super League.

There was a pro Super League article written on April 19 in the Mail. Here it is: https://t.co/2Tu8D90pAf

— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) April 26, 2021

More on Ed Woodward’s meeting with Dan Rosenfield

Deputy Political Editor of The Sunday Times, Caroline Wheeler, has posted the following thread on Twitter of what happened when Ed Woodward met Dan Rosenfield.

Rosenfield understood to have told Woodward that Downing Street wd not stand in way of SL plan. It is alleged this was done without consulting PM. No10 claim ESL not raised at the meeting – surprising given clubs preparing plans, under instruction from CEOs, from April 13… /2

— caroline wheeler (@cazjwheeler) April 25, 2021

Positive noises from Downing Street were understood to have been communicated to those behind the ESL on the Saturday, and was apparently important in the final decision to launch. This has been denied by Ed Woodward… /4

— caroline wheeler (@cazjwheeler) April 25, 2021

…. to tone down his statement. DCMS deny this and claim they at no point did anyone try to persuade them to change their response.

Boris Johnson is always said to have been against plans, and he asked Eddie Lister to communicate that directly to some SL backers /6 ENDS

— caroline wheeler (@cazjwheeler) April 25, 2021

Dan Rosenfield on being a Manchester United fan

In 2019, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraph (via the Jewish Chronicle), Dan Rosenfield discussed being a life-long Man United fan.

Rosenfield revealed that he spent a year in Germany during his university course because of Man United:

I wanted to go to a big town, and decided to go to Munich as Manchester United were drawn against them in the European Champions League group stage that season.

From milking cows on a kibbutz to No 10: meet Boris’ new chief of staffhttps://t.co/QbuqGs8puZ pic.twitter.com/GpWp5mU2zc

— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) December 2, 2020

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