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Man United chief executive David Gill to step down

Wednesday - 2/20/2013, 2:37pm  ET

Manchester United's Nani celebrates after he scored the first goal of the game for his side during their English FA Cup fifth round soccer match against Reading at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Monday Feb. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)

ROB HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) -- Manchester United chief executive David Gill said Wednesday he will step down in June after a decade running one of the world's most valuable teams.

His move will deprive long-time manager Alex Ferguson of one of his closest confidants at the soccer club, taken over in 2005 by the Glazer family that also own the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gill's responsibilities will be assumed June 1 by executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, although Gill will remain on the board that eventually will choose Ferguson's successor.

Ferguson has been manager since 1986 and his tenure has delivered unprecedented success for the club, which currently leads the English Premier League by 12 points. He hasn't said when he intends to retire.

"I am looking forward to continuing my involvement on the club board," Gill said. "And I hope to be able to make a contribution to the game on a wider national and European level."

"We have had a million arguments, but I have always enjoyed them because I know that David has two great qualities: he is straight and he always puts Manchester United first," Ferguson said.

Following six years as finance director, Gill became chief executive in 2003.

The buyout by the Glazers angered some fan groups because of the debt that was incurred by the club. But those liabilities have been cut in half in the past three years to 366.6 million pounds ($567 million), partly from the proceeds of last August's initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Forbes last month said United's enterprise value, which subtracts debt from equity value, has risen to $3.3 billion, the highest for any sports team in the world.

Last week, United forecast revenue of 350-360 million pounds ($535-550 million) for 2012-13.


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