United will not be in the top European club competition next season but will gear their summer transfer activity around rebuilding the squad so that they can secure a top-four finish in the Premier League next year.
The European Club Association (ECA) have proposed plans which would see 24 of 32 teams who qualify automatically for the Champions League retain their places based on a high placing in expanded eight-team groups.
There is also an argument from one section of the ECA for matches to be moved to the weekend with domestic league fixtures instead swapped for weeknights.
Speaking at his quarterly financial conference call on Thursday afternoon, Woodward discussed the potential changes to the Uefa competition and praised the governing body for considering an expanded competition.
“This is partly driven by domestic leagues across Europe not necessarily thriving and there being a desire from the clubs that are toward the top of those leagues to play more European games, which perhaps are more competitive,” Woodward told investors.
“I think there is drive from Uefa, which is laudable, which is to try to give greater access to more teams, so if you look at the year just about to finish, 80 teams competed in the two competitions and the proposal for 24 is 128 teams so a greater than 50 per cent increase in the number of teams playing in Europe.
“There are other factors as well, from our perspective we view these proposals as interesting but there’s a lot of work to do with stakeholders to assess this. We’re doing that ourselves together with our colleagues in the Premier League and the ECA.
“From a timeline perspective we can expect to hear more and more feedback on progress around this through 2019 and so therefore maybe clarity and somewhere around from six to nine months from now.”
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