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Premier League clubs to hold emergency meeting to discuss Project Big Picture

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Premier League clubs hold emergency meeting to discuss Project Big Picture for the first time as Liverpool and Manchester United aim to get the rest of the top flight on board with their radical proposals

  • Premier League clubs will discuss Project Big Picture in a meeting on Wednesday
  • Liverpool and Manchester United are behind a huge shake-up of English football
  • The plans would see more funding for EFL clubs and competitions scrapped
  • But the top flight’s ‘Big Six’ would demand extra power, which has angered clubs 

Premier League clubs are set for a momentous day as they discuss the Project Big Picture proposals that could change the landscape of English football for the first time.

Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as EFL chairman Rick Parry, are behind a radical restructure to the Premier League that would bring increased funding for the EFL, reduce the top flight from 20 to 18 clubs and scrap the Carabao Cup among other things.  

But the proposal also outlines how the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ would acquire more power in decision-making and that has caused anger within the top flight and other areas of the football pyramid.

Premier League clubs are set to discuss the Project Big Picture proposals on Wednesday

Premier League clubs are set to discuss the Project Big Picture proposals on Wednesday

John W Henry and Liverpool's Fenway Sports Group owners are keen to see plans in action

John W Henry and Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group owners are keen to see plans in action

Manchester United’s Joel Glazer is also behind the plans that would re-shape English football

Premier League clubs will air the views on the matter in an online video conference on Wednesday morning. 

Currently, at least 14 of the Premier League’s 20 clubs need to vote in favour of any major proposals in order for them to be introduced.

But it is thought that at least eight clubs are against the plan, including Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Sheffield United and West Brom. 

It emerged on Tuesday night that EFL clubs are split over whether to support the plan with meetings of the three divisions involving all 72 clubs held on Tuesday ending without a firm agreement. 

As reported by SportsmailChampionship clubs are understood to have offered chairman Parry their support while clubs in League One and League Two were far more critical of the proposals.

Liverpool and United's owners have reportedly held conversations with EFL boss Rick Parry

Liverpool and United’s owners have reportedly held conversations with EFL boss Rick Parry

There are fears the Premier League’s clear anger at Parry’s involvement in secret talks with Liverpool and Manchester United could jeopardise the bailout they are seeking to survive for the rest of the season.

As many as seven clubs in League One and Two need extra funding to ensure they can pay all their players this month so are wary of further antagonising the Premier League.  

In a letter to the FA Council, which convenes on Thursday, FA chairman Greg Clarke said he had taken part in initial discussions before walking away when he felt the aim had become ‘the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs, with a breakaway league mooted as a threat’.

He wrote: ‘I, of course, discontinued my involvement and counselled a more consensus-based approach involving all Premier League clubs and its chair and CEO. Our game needs to continually seek to improve but benefits need to be shared.’

FA chairman Greg Clarke revealed he walked away from the discussions on Project Big Picture

FA chairman Greg Clarke revealed he walked away from the discussions on Project Big Picture

Clarke warned that the FA could use its so-called ‘golden share’ as a trump card if it felt the wider interests of the game were being compromised and suggested any breakaway competition would not receive the necessary sanctions from the governing body.

‘We, the FA Board and Council, have to ensure that any changes would be to the long-term benefit of the whole of football and we have substantial controls to help ensure that the best interests of the game are served by any new proposals,’ he said.

‘Change must benefit clubs, fans and players, not just selective balance sheets. In these difficult times unity, transparency and common purpose must override the interests of the few.’

The Football Supporters’ Association have taken an altogether more sceptical view, deeming PBP a ‘sugar-coated cyanide pill offered up by billionaire owners who do not understand or care about our football culture’. 

PROJECT BIG PICTURE PROPOSALS:

  • The Premier League will be cut from 20 to 18 teams, with the Championship, League One and League Two all keeping their usual 24 clubs.
  • Nine ‘long term shareholders’ will be given the power and have special voting rights on all sorts of issues in the Premier League, including rule changes, who becomes chief executive, and even if a new owner can take over at another club.
  • A £350million rescue fund will be made immediately available to the EFL and Football Association for lost revenues for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
  • The League Cup and the Community Shield will be completely abolished.
  • Parachute payments will be scrapped and instead, 25 per cent of Premier League revenue will be distributed to the EFL.
  • Promotion play-offs brought in, involving 16th-placed team in the Premier League, and 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Championship.
  • Funding will be provided to set up a new and independent women’s league.
  • Season to start later and pre-season friendlies extended.




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