with government calls for the Premier League to support EFL clubs up and down the country as COVID-19 continues to hit sides on and off the pitch hard a proposal has been put forward that includes some of the biggest changes to football in decades.
the controversial proposal known as Project Big Picture has been in the works for over three years after it was originally drawn up by Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group and backed by Manchester United who want it to begin in the 2022-23 season. after being sped up because of coronavirus the document includes a number of major changes to the voting structure of the Premier League as well as funding models for the English football league and football association, however, with such major changes there’s obviously been huge pushback from many corners of English football
so today we’re going to look at exactly what are the changes what are the arguments for and what are the arguments against, so what exactly are the key changes that Project Big Picture is proposing well let’s start with the financing, firstly the Premier League would immediately look to help compensate the EFL for lost matchday revenue with a 250 million pound bailout that would be deducted from future TV revenue and a loan taken out by the Premier League. there would also be a 100 million pound gift to the fa to cover its covered losses support the non-league game the women’s game and grassroots football
as well as that 350 million outlay 8.5% of annual net Premier League revenue would go to the operating costs and good causes including the FA and a further 25% of revenue would go directly to EFL clubs in the future also included in the proposal is the capping of away ticket prices at 20 pounds away travel being subsidized a focus on a return to safe standing and a minimum away allocation of 8% capacity.
alongside these financial outlays though there would also be huge changes to the league and its voting rights as a whole. the most news grabbing headline is the league would be reduced from 20 teams to just 18 with four clubs being relegated and just two promoted in the first season to make this happen once the league is 18 teams strong the normal three teams promoted three teams relegated would then be resumed however the manner of promotion would change 18th and 17th would be automatically relegated and first and second in the championship would be promoted as it is now,
but the playoffs would alter massively with the 16th place Premier League club involved in a mini-tournament against the championship’s third fourth and fifth place teams not only that but the document also includes the axing of the lead cup and the community shield as well as reducing the overall professional league size in England from 92 to 90 clubs.
along with these changes is the most controversial of the lot the abolition of the one club one vote system in the Premier League with special status given to the nine longest-serving clubs which will be the big six plus Everton, West Ham and Southampton
those nine shareholders would then be given extra power it currently takes a 14 club majority of the 20 sides in the league to pass any change but with the new proposal it would only require six of the special nine to vote in favor of any future change to the league this would mean the big six could vote on amending rules regulations contracts removal of CEOs and a wide-ranging veto including most crucially any new club ownership.
there are plenty of other changes included in the document too including bringing FFP in line with UEFA, Championship, League One and League Two wage caps new loan rules later Premier League start dates a summer Premier League mini tournament and new rules on TV distribution
so those are the proposed alterations but let’s firstly look at the arguments for this change, most clear of which is the EFL’s desperate need for financial support as teams across the country face massive difficulties this has led Rick Parry the EFL chairman to lend his unwavering support to the proposal. alongside Parry, a number of English football chairmen such as David Bottomley the Rochdale chairman believe it may end up being a necessary step
in the Premier League manchester, United’s Joel Glazer and Liverpool’s FSG are current that they will get the backing of the seven other clubs proposed to be given special status, they claim that their aim is to eliminate the huge gap in earnings between the Premier League and the EFL clubs whilst in return having greater control of the decisions made by the Premier League. they also believe that the champions league will be expanded in its size in 2024-2025 and want the Premier League clubs to be able to compete more fairly in the competition
overall the claims for this proposal all state that a change in the English football pyramid has been long overdue despite parries Liverpool and Manchester United’s argument for change the opposition though to this proposal has been incredibly fierce many fans online believe this is nothing more than a power grab by the Premier League’s biggest clubs who they claim are trading off financial support for EFL sides in return for that power
most significantly alongside that fan sentiment has been the opposition from the Premier League itself who released a damning statement against Project Big Picture they said that:
“in the Premier League’s view a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game and we are disappointed to see Rick Parry, the chair of the EFF, has given his on the record support”
“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”
not only are the majority of fans and the Premier League against it but the government also are too, with secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden concerned it could well be a power grab by the big teams. along with the fans the Premier League the government the FA will also reportedly say no according to the times claim that the FA will use their golden share which was gifted to the football association by the Premier League upon its inception in 1992 and basically gives them a key vote on significant decisions to stop Project Big Picture
so there you can see the changes the arguments for and the arguments against there is an emergency meeting planned this week involving all of the Premier League teams to discuss it further.