Manchester United has missed out on a £200 million commercial partnership due to the cessation of discussions with ecommerce company The Hut Group (THG) amid fan protests to boycott sponsorship deals, according to The Observer.
Supporters of the Premier League club, who have voiced opposition against United’s American owners, the Glazer family, have seemingly succeeded in their mission after the Manchester-based firm pulled out of the deal, which would have seen THG-owned Myprotein’s branding replace AON on players’ training kits.
The UK newspaper reported that Manchester United were informed on 7 May that THG had withdrawn its nine-figure offer as a result of fan protests.
On 2 May, United fans forced the postponement of the club’s Premier League clash against Liverpool, taking a stand against the recent collapse of the controversial European Super League (ESL) and a group of United supporters have now launched the ‘#NotAPennyMore’ online campaign to thwart brands sponsoring the club.
The group penned a letter to the club’s commercial partners that read: “Your sponsorship money will be used for debt servicing and dividends. Supporting the Glazers does not support the club. It sustains a parasitical relationship.
“To that end, Manchester United fans will boycott your products, seek to tarnish your brands and support your competitors until you terminate your commercial partnerships with the Glazer family.”
United’s agreement with professional services firm AON comes to an end on 30 June, meaning the club may struggle to find a replacement of similar value in that time.
Most recently, it was announced that the Premier League would introduce a new ‘owners’ charter’ to prevent a repeat of the ESL. The revised rules would require all owners to sign up, committing them to the core principles of the Premier League, with sanctions for those that violate the charter.
Although Joel Glazer, the club’s Co-Chairman, issued a ‘sincere apology’ in the wake of the ESL collapse, fans have since taken matters into their own hands, with top-tier rivals Arsenal also in the market for new owners.
However, UEFA has now agreed a deal with nine of the clubs involved in the controversial proposals to ‘reintegrate’ the teams back into European football, including the Premier League ‘big six’.
The new ‘Club Commitment Declaration’ also includes financial penalties to ensure that European football does not see a repeat of the breakaway league.
“I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media,” noted UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin.
“These clubs have done just that. In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit.
“The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK.
“These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football. The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called ‘Super League’ and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently.”
Meanwhile, LaLiga duo Barcelona and Real Madrid, along with Serie A’s Juventus have reiterated their commitment to getting the breakaway ESL off the ground, hitting back at the ‘intolerable’ pressure the European giants have faced to abandon the project.
A joint statement read: “The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue.
“This is intolerable under the rule of law and tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending.”