Labour is demanding Boris Johnson explain whether he signalled his backing for the ill-fated European Super League.
The plan by the so-called Big Six Premier League clubs for a breakaway competition dramatically unravelled within just 48 hours after it was vehemently condemned by fans and government ministers – including Johnson – alike.
However, the Sunday Times reported that just four days before its launch, the prime minister may have given Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward the impression he would back the proposal.
The paper said Mr Woodward had been in Downing Street on April 14 for a meeting with Johnson’s chief of staff Dan Rosenfield.
It said that while No 10 denied the meeting was to discuss the Super League, it quoted sources as saying Mr Woodward may have briefly met Johnson while he was there and left with the wrong impression the prime minister supported the scheme.
Shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said Johnson needed to explain exactly what had transpired during Mr Woodward’s visit.
“Yet again Boris Johnson’s integrity and honesty are in question,” she said.
“The public has a right to know what exactly was promised to Manchester United by both officials and the prime minister.
“If Boris Johnson gave the European Super League his backing and then publicly turned on the plan then the British people deserve a full, clear and immediate explanation and apology.”
In response, a No 10 spokeswoman said: “Ed Woodward had a meeting in Downing Street last week with officials.
“The meeting was to discuss the safe return of fans and Covid certification, as part of ongoing work on events pilots.
“The Super League was not discussed and the PM was not in the meeting.”