With no fans currently allowed at games and billions of losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the English Premier League is currently facing a major financial dilemma that requires adjustment in several aspects. As a remedy, a proposal backed by Liverpool and Manchester United and EFL chairman Rick Parry is currently in the cards.
The rescue plan fronted the two clubs that have American owners – with the working title “Project Big Picture” – is set to be the biggest revamp of the sport since the Premier League was launched in 1992. The blueprint for Project Big Picture plan was developed by John W Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner and pitched to fellow Big Six executives by Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer.
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Among the proposals being debated are a reduction in the Premier League from 20 to 18 teams, the abolition of the Carabao Cup and the Community Shield and greater voting power for ‘big six’ clubs. The proposed changes would put the majority of power into the hands of the biggest clubs, ending the Premier League’s current one-club, one-vote system.
In return, the EFL would get 25% of all future TV deals, plus a £250 million rescue fund made immediately available to help keep their 72 member clubs afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, while the Football Association (FA) would receive what is being described as a £100 million “gift”. There is also a pledge to ensure that tickets for away fans will be capped at £20 per game.
“English football is the world’s most watched, and has a vibrant, dynamic and competitive league structure that drives interest around the globe,” said a Premier League statement. “To maintain this position, it is important that we all work together.” It is learned that the Premier League was created, out of the flames of the conflict between the Football Association and the Football League.
The Premier league also expressed its disappointment over the “on-the-record support” of Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, with this initiative. “The Premier League has been working in good faith with its clubs and the EFL to seek a resolution to the requirement for Covid-19 rescue funding. This work will continue,” the statement added.
Spurs are on board with the plans but Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City have reservations as the rest of the Premier League firmly opposes the plans, which already have the support by the majority of the EFL through its chief Rick Parry. Six votes would be enough to decide on policy. The remaining 11 top-flight clubs would lose their voice in determining the division’s direction.
“We are surprised and disappointed that at a time of crisis when we have urged the top tiers of professional football to come together and finalise a deal to help lower league clubs there appear to be backroom deals being cooked up that would create a closed shop at the very top of the game,” a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told a news portal.