Manchester United’s MD Richard Arnold has confirmed that the club scrapped plans to play pre-season games in India when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
But Manchester United still plan to visit India to play matches in the future, even though there will be no tour this summer because of the elongated Premier League campaign.
Last summer Manchester United spent time in Australia and Asia and had been expected to play a game in India as part of this summer’s tour, though a three-month break in the competitive schedule between March and June meant games have continued well into July, the usual month for pre-season games.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side conclude their domestic season at Leicester City this Sunday, looking to wrap up a spot in the top four and secure Champions League qualification for next term.
Arnold, who works closely with Ed Woodward, told the ShivNadarFoundation how United’s plans are governed by their fanbase, while reiterating the desire to become the first Premier League team to play in India.
“We don’t tend to think in terms of market,” he said.
“The fans are all part of a big family. India is an important part of our family. We have been organising live screenings. For the first team to play in India, it has been on our minds for some time now. We planned to make a trip this summer, but we could not because of the Covid situation. But we will try to make a trip to India in the future.”
Arnold also spoke about how the club had remained resilient in testing financial times during the pandemic. Manchester United were lauded for their charitable actions during lockdown, sending food parcels to vulnerable people and refusing to furlough staff.
“Resilience is one of the core components of the club’s DNA,” added Arnold.
“It prides itself on hiring and developing talent accordingly. Like Sir Alex Ferguson said, United is never beaten, they just run out of time sometimes.
“That’s the philosophy that inspired the 1999 Champions League. As the fans called it, the Fergie time. Just like that, we refuse to be beaten down. That’s the culture we have off the pitch as well.
“This is the second or third global crisis we have seen while I’ve been part of the club but the club came through everything and grew stronger. We invested in technology, young players. This resilience is what you hear from everyone associated with Manchester United.” He said