Ed Woodward has resigned from his role as executive vice-chairman of Manchester United over the backlash caused by the club's decision to take part in the European Super League.
The Red Devils are one of 12 clubs to have signed up to the controversial new breakaway tournament, including fellow Premier League sides Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan are the other clubs to have signed up to take part in the Super League, which has been widely criticised by fans, pundits, players and managers due to its largely closed format.
Reports earlier this evening suggest that Chelsea are planning to withdraw from the tournament, following major protests outside Stamford Bridge ahead of Tuesday night's meeting with Brighton & Hove Albion.
Woodward's resignation, which will come into effect at the end of this year, appears to be another blow to the Super League's hopes of breaking away from UEFA and its marquee competition the Champions League.
The executive vice-chairman, who had been regularly questioned over his transfer dealings in recent years, was reportedly always planning to step down from his role at the end of 2021, but has now decided to bring forward his announcement in the wake of the furious reaction to his role in the creation of the European Super League.
"I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world's greatest football club for the past 16 years. The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year," Woodward said in a statement on the club's official website.
"I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club's culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.
"We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.
"I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to. I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.
"Our world-famous academy is flourishing again, with 34 players progressing into the first team since 2013, and it has been a pleasure to watch talents such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe flourish in the first team environment. In the years to come the club's production line of young talent will continue to push established first team players for their places. That competition bodes well for the future.
"We have also established Manchester United women and their progress is further evidence of the demand for success at this great club.
"The last 16 months have brought so many unique challenges and the club's work in the community and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has been heroic.
"The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures.
"I would like to thank United's passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt. Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people."
Co-chairman Joel Glazer added: "Ed Woodward has served the club with great distinction. On behalf of everyone at United I would like to place on record our sincere thanks for his tireless work and dedication.
"His contribution to the club has been massive, and he will always be welcome at Old Trafford as a part of the Manchester United family."
Woodward reportedly held crisis talks with Manchester United players on Monday following the announcement, having not consulted them throughout the decision-making process, with captain Harry Maguire thought to have confronted the Man United chief.
Woodward was quoted late last year denying plans to form a breakaway group of 'elite' teams, but is understood to have played a major role in the creation of the tournament.