Premier League sides Manchester United and Liverpool, along with the English Football League (EFL) have endorsed controversial new proposals that will see the English football pyramid radically altered in what is being called ‘Project Big Picture’.
Devised by the two Premier League teams and with the support of the EFL, the new propsals will see the Premier League cut from 20 teams to just 18, the scrapping of the Carabao Cup and Community Shield, and the end of parachute payments.
In return, a £250m rescue fund will be made available to the EFL and its clubs, as well as 25% of all future Premier League TV deals.
The nine longest-standing Premier League clubs – currently Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton, Southampton and West Ham - will also be given ‘special voting rights’ on certain issues.
No other club Premier League club outside of Manchester United and Liverpool have yet lent their support to the proposal – though it’s understood the nine mentioned above would be in favour – and the league itself has damned the proposals, claiming that the plan ‘would have a damaging impact on the whole game’.
One Premier League club outside the top six is known to have grave reservations about handing so much power to a small number of teams and does not believe the plan will get the minimum 14 votes required to pass.
Rick Parry, Chairman of the EFL, has been vocal in his support of the proposals, believe it to be a ‘new beginning’ for English football.
In a statemet from the EFL, Parry said: “Project Big Picture provides a new beginning which will revitalise the football pyramid at all levels. This new beginning will reinvigorate clubs in the lower leagues and the communities in which they are based.
“This is about building on what is good and making the most of what works well in order to benefit the game as a whole, while simultaneously tackling those issues which trouble all of us. This is a blueprint for the future of English football and for everyone who cherishes it.”
Reaction from within fans has been mixed, and a spokesperson for the Football Supporters’ Association said: “Very few of our members have ever expressed the view that what football really needs is a greater concentration of power in the hands of the big six billionaire-owned clubs.”
The move comes just days after the Premier League revealed that, in response to fans inability to attend matches, it would be making selected games not already picked up by BT, Sky or Amazon available on a pay per view basis at the cost of £14.95 per match – a price point met with universal criticism.