United plc's statement to the Stock Exchange

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The Independent Football

"Following recent press reports, Sir Roy Gardner and the plc board of Manchester United today publishes its well established policies and procedures in respect to player transfers and contract negotiations.

A clear and distinct demarcation of responsibilities has been in place for at least as long as Manchester United has been listed on the London Stock Exchange:

* The plc board determines the player contract and acquisition/disposal strategy and agrees the financial framework for the execution of that strategy. The club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is not a director of either the plc or the football club.

* Sir Alex Ferguson identifies potential targets and recommends purchases and sales, but is not involved in financial and contractual aspects of negotiations with any of the first-team players, agents or clubs.

* The executive directors, led by the chief executive, David Gill, handle all transaction and contract negotiations. All first-team squad deals must be approved by the plc board.

Fully qualified legal advice is taken in all cases which are completed in strict accordance with Fifa, Football Association and Premier League rules. It should be noted that payments in respects to transfers, including those made to agents, are made via the FA or Premier League.

Manchester United annually discloses details of all material (over £25,000) player transactions and contracts, including all fees and commissions paid by Manchester United to agents in a formal report (Schedule D) to the Premier League.

This report is signed by each director of the football club board and reviewed by independent external auditors in accordance with Premier League regulation and must be submitted to the Premier League within 10 months of the end of the financial year.

Manchester United has a clear policy statement on the announcement of all player transfers with all significant player transfers announced through the London Stock Exchange before any other public confirmation.

With effect from the current transfer window, Manchester United will provide additional information on transfer deals. This started with last Friday's announcement (23 January 2004) of the purchase of the registration of Louis Saha, which included details of commissions paid to agents. This information will be provided in all future Stock Exchange announcements.

In accordance with the specific undertaking given at the company's last Annual General Meeting, the board will consider whether any further additional disclosure should be included in next year's annual report.

Manchester United believes its processes and policies are among the most rigorous in football. Although the media have reported various allegations, Manchester United has received no documentary evidence from any party to support these allegations.

However, the board of Manchester United will conduct a thorough internal review of the recent transfer dealings. Any changes or improvements in controls required ascertained from this review would be published and implemented before the next transfer window in June 2004.

In addition, the company intends to seek support from the Premier League for new guidelines in respect of dealing with agents.

Manchester United reaffirms that it complies fully with the current combined code of corporate governance as disclosed in its annual report year-ended 31 July 2003. Both the NAPF (National Association of Pension Funds) and PIRC (Pensions and Investment Research Consultants) confirm this compliance.

In addition, the company is taking steps to ensure that it complies with all aspects of the new code of corporate governance, which comes into effect for Manchester United plc in the year-ended 31 July 2005."

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