Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger – who is FIFA’s chief of global football development – has questioned EFL chairman Rick Parry’s claims that they provide “long-term sustainability” for the clubs under his jurisdiction.
Wenger believes “smaller clubs will die” unless urgent action is taken to safeguard the future of the English Football League.
“If nothing happens, the smaller clubs will die. I don’t think that one payment will sort out the problem. The problem is much deeper than that.The money certainly has to be shared, the income of the top clubs has to be shared a fraction more with the smaller clubs.” Wenger said – speaking to Geoff Shreeves at a special event for Sky VIP customers on Monday.
Responding to Project Big Picture’s revolutionary plans, Wenger insisted a one-off bail-out payment was not enough and that the EFL, the English Premier League, and the government must reach a compromise.
The proposals promise an immediate £250million rescue package for EFL clubs starved of income by the coronavirus pandemic and a fairer share of future revenue.
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But the plans have been criticised by the EPL and the government for concentrating too much power among the top-flight’s so-called ‘big six’ clubs. While the FA, which has the power to veto any fundamental changes to the Premier League thanks to the ‘golden share’, is unlikely to back the proposals in their current form.
Wenger also mentioned that he was not surprised that the proposals had proved so divisive.
“You cannot ignore completely the tradition inside the country,” the 70-year-old said, adding the plans will “create a reluctance and a negative approach”.
Wenger said the EFL had been in a financial crisis before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Overall the solution has to come from the federation, from the government, from the Premier League – to find a compromise to sort out the problems that already existed before coronavirus,” he said.