SPORTS AGENDA: Woodward remains '100 per cent involved' at Man United

SPORTS AGENDA: Ed Woodward sells his Cheshire home which was targeted by angry fans and moves back to London but Manchester United chief is still ‘100 per cent involved’ at Old Trafford

  • Man United insist Ed Woodward remains ‘100 per cent involved’ at the club 
  • The chief executive has sold his Cheshire home and relocated to London
  • Channel 4 are in the market for future Test cricket rights after India series
  • The BBC’s decision to broadcast MMA has concerned some in Parliament 

Ed Woodward has sold his Cheshire home and relocated to London, but sources insist he remains ‘100 per cent involved’ at Manchester United.

The executive vice chairman’s Knutsford residence was targeted by a group of supporters early last year. They launched flares in the attack, which was investigated by police, although no arrests were made.

Woodward has already spent considerable time working from United’s Mayfair office and will continue to do so.

Last week, United announced a reshuffle that saw existing members of staff John Murtough, Darren Fletcher and Matt Judge become football director, technical director and head of football negotiations.

Manchester United say Ed Woodward remains ‘100 per cent involved’ after relocating 

Channel 4 insiders say they will be in the market for future Test rights despite England’s series with India losing more than a schedule-busting 40 hours of coverage because of early finishes.

Sources at the terrestrial broadcaster are delighted with the viewing figures, with 9million tuning in across four Tests.

The series averaged 543,000 viewers, despite three of the matches starting at 4am and only the first Test reaching day five. The broadcaster have also been impressed with the engagement of the BAME audience, with the 22 per cent average share up 549 per cent on the slot average.

Channel 4 are in the market for future Test rights after broadcasting the India Test series 

Top six official making themselves heard in empty stadiums 

Behind-closed-doors football has been interesting for those lucky enough to be inside stadiums, with formerly inaudible interactions between players, officials and coaches all on raucous display.

It has been the same in the directors’ box, with certain folk gaining a reputation among counterparts. 

One unnamed official at a top-six club has failed to cover themselves in glory with bullish and some would say overly aggressive behaviour. 

The person in question repeatedly refers to players by their nicknames, which has made many cringe, and some have wondered whether they have added an accent to their voice for effect as they bellow encouragement.

One unnamed top six official is making themselves heard inside empty grounds this season

Clubs hopeful over US broadcast rights battle  

Hope for the Premier League and its clubs that all may not be lost when it comes to broadcast rights has emerged on the other side of the Atlantic. CBS has recently started investing big in football, securing the Champions League and Europa League rights along with 200 Concacaf matches.

The rumour in the US is that CBS is battling ESPN for the next tranche of Serie A rights and, with rival NBC’s agreement for the Premier League ending in 2022, they may well provide price-inflating competition. The timing is welcome, especially given that the Premier League will soon market its US rights.

West Ham on the hunt for new intern

West Ham are seeking an intern who is fluent in a foreign language — ‘particularly Mandarin or Indo-Aryan’.

The high-bar-setting Hammers want a communications intern who will be paid the London living wage (£10.85 per hour). The job description sets out a number of ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ skills, with a high standard of written and spoken English ‘essential’ and fluency in a foreign tongue ‘desirable’.

West Ham United have posted a job advert for a Mandarin or Indo-Aryan speaking intern 

Beeb cage fight blow 

The crass move from the youth-obsessed BBC to broadcast live cage-fighting — highlighted by this column — has triggered concerns in Parliament.

Last week, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee called on director-general Tim Davie to explain the decision.

With the DCMS’s concussion in sport inquiry ongoing, chair Julian Knight, a former BBC correspondent, pulled few punches, stating: ‘It could be said that the BBC was now a leading cheerleader for the sport in the UK.’ It is understood that the agreement has triggered unease within the BBC.

The BBC’s decision to broadcast mixed martial arts has triggered concerns in Parliament

Chief executive of brain injury charity Headway, Peter McCabe, told the inquiry that cage fighting should be banned as it is a ‘brutal’ sport.

Still, if it attracts a younger audience, it appears to tick a box for Auntie.

The BBC say mixed martial arts is covered by a number of broadcasters, adding, ‘it is for the ruling body to ensure the safety of the sport’. A spokesperson said coverage carries clear warnings and an option for a parental lock.

Freeman tribunal second lengthiest in history 

The much-delayed medical tribunal of former Team Sky and British Cycling medic Richard Freeman felt like it would never end.

Now it can be revealed that Freeman’s case is in second place when it comes to the lengthiest hearings to take place at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.

Ex-Team Sky and British Cycling’s doctor Richard Freeman’s tribunal is second longest ever

It remains ongoing, and after 91 days Freeman is still waiting to hear whether he will be struck off.

It still has 21 to go to overtake the case of Dr Waney Squier, who subsequently appealed to the High Court against the MPTS decision to strike her off and was ultimately successful, with a conditions of practice order replacing the move to ‘erase’ her.

British Olympic Association sends essentials to Tokyo 

A year ago this week, the British Olympic Association’s management were in Toyko putting the final touches to their preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games.

A pandemic and a postponement later, the BOA have not been able to get back into Tokyo since, but remain confident of the Games happening this time around.

To underline their confidence, they are about to ship eight 40ft containers to Tokyo packed with essentials for Team GB’s athletes, including spin bikes, mattress toppers, pillows and the one thing that any self-respecting Brit couldn’t do without… tea bags.

Top-flight backs clubs in pursuit of online racist trolls 

The Premier League has told clubs that it will pay for investigations into and prosecutions of online racists.

Last year, the competition launched a reporting tool and has a team of legal staff who respond to complaints.

On a recent call with clubs, police officers and transport officers, the Premier League explained what measures it had in place and told them it would look after any bills for finding and prosecuting individuals both at home and abroad.

The Premier League has told clubs it will finance probes and prosecutions of racist trolls 

United preparing for tours in May 

In another one you can file under ‘clubs that do not miss a trick’, Manchester United have written to fans to let them know their Old Trafford-based museum and stadium tours will reopen on May 17. 

During the pandemic, staff have created two new exhibitions: ‘On the road to the 1999 Treble’ and ‘The history of the Theatre of Dreams’. 

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