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Premier League chief bonus 'hugely unpopular' with supporters - fan group

Premier League chief bonus 'hugely unpopular' with supporters - fan group

ESPN

Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to introduce video assistant referees (VAR) from next season onward.

The competition has held off introducing VAR, even as it has been used in other top leagues, including Spain, and by FIFA at the World Cup.

The Premier League's 20 clubs decided to introduce VAR at a meeting on Thursday, pending approval from the International Football Association Board and FIFA.

Earlier on Thursday, Asian Cup organisers said VAR would be used at the Jan. 5-Feb. 1 tournament starting in the quarterfinals.

Referees will be able to assess replays in seven games in Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said the club are fully behind manager Jose Mourinho despite the "mixed" start to the Premier League.

United are eighth in the Premier League after 12 games following Sunday's 3-1 defeat against Manchester City, and sit seven points off a top-four spot.

"On the pitch we remain well positioned in the Champions League and although we have had a mixed start to our domestic campaign, the squad and the manager are fully united in their determination to regain our momentum in the Premier League," Woodward said while announcing first quarter revenues of £135 million.

Woodward also said United have the "financial strength" to get back to contending for the biggest trophies at home and abroad.

The club have not won the Premier League title since 2013 and have not made the Champions League semifinals since reaching the final in 2011.

But ahead of the January transfer window -- and while negotiations continue with star players David De Gea and Anthony Martial over new long term contracts -- Woodward insists the money is there to help get United back to the top of world football. Editors' Picks


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"Our financial strength enables us to continue to attract and retain top players and to invest in our academy, as we look to drive the success on the pitch that the club and our fans expect," Woodward said.

"We remain on track to deliver our record full-year revenue guidance, underpinning our long-term, strategic plan to create sustainable growth across all areas of the club."

Outgoing Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore will receive a "golden handshake" worth £5 million despite strong opposition from the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF), the league has confirmed.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck suggested top division clubs should contribute £250,000 each to the farewell bonus.

Buck chairs the league's audit and remuneration committee and was part of the search for Scudamore's successor, Susanna Dinnage. His idea was opposed by the FSF and reportedly by some clubs.

A Premier League statement, which said Scudamore would be retained in an advisory role, read: "The decision was made by the audit and remuneration committee and the non-executive directors, supported and endorsed by the clubs.

"The payments, which will eventually total £5 million, will be spread over the next three years.

"It was agreed that it is crucial for the League's ongoing success that Richard's unique knowledge and experience remain available in an advisory capacity. The payments are in recognition of the outstanding work Richard has carried out."

The move has been condemned by several fan groups, with Liverpool's Spirit of Shankly describing it as "laughable," while sources told ESPN FC a number of clubs were initially against the idea. 

In a statement released before the bonus was confirmed, umbrella group the FSF urged clubs not to contribute to a payment to Scudamore, who is leaving the Premier League after 19 years.

FSF statement on Premier League clubs' hugely unpopular idea to gift the PL's outgoing CEO £5m. Just don't do it - https://t.co/MbvmAVRXHt

"Premier League clubs have always told fan groups that budgets are planned in advance and there's not a surplus of cash lying around from their extremely lucrative TV deal," the organisation said in a statement.

"In the meantime, loyal football supporters continue to be inconvenienced by fixture changes to fit TV schedules, often losing out on travel costs or struggling to get to and from games in the first place.

"Now it appears clubs can stick their hands down the back of the sofa and find £250,000 at a moment's notice.

"Fans strongly oppose the 'golden handshake,' and we urge clubs not to make a decision which is hugely unpopular with supporters."

ESPN