Premier League president Gary Hoffman has announced his resignation over the controversy over the Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle United.
Hoffman, who has only been on the job for 18 months, was the subject of an unofficial confidence vote by Premier League presidents last week, with more than half calling for his removal. He will leave this week and the final details will be settled between him and the competition.
He will step down after being the center of attention from clubs over how the deal with Newcastle was approved. Clubs complained that they had not been properly consulted about a decision to allow the Saudi state fund to buy the club, after being notified of the outcome by email and only after media reports were published.
Hoffman, 61, wrote the emails and the messages were seen by clubs – especially those outside the top six – as a “last straw” for their confidence in the chairman. Hoffman, a highly respected banker who ran Northern Rock after it was nationalized during the financial crisis, has a non-executive role in the Premier League. However, his short tenure coincided not only with Covid but also with the aborted escape plans of Project Big Picture and the European Super League, plots that infuriated many of the same clubs that eventually wanted to take him out.
While Richard Masters, the league’s chief executive, is still regarded as the trust of most club owners, Hoffman became the object of intense anger during an emergency Premier League meeting last month and was pressured to resign. Last week, club owners met informally again and held a no-confidence vote in Hoffman, with the unknown chairman failing.
At last Thursday’s official board meeting, where clubs came together to ‘unanimously’ reject plans for a World Cup every two years, Hoffman’s future was not mentioned once. But everyone at the meeting knew that the notebook was on the wall.
Hoffman, former director of Barclays, has also worked for Visa Europe and once ran the insurance company Hastings. He is also chairman of the digital bank Monzo. He took over as Premier League chairman in June 2020, but with Covid and the failed attempt to form a European Super League, it was far from plain sailing.