Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly spearheading a project to give English football its ‘biggest shake-up in a generation’.

The Telegraph claim to have seen a document about ‘Project Big Picture’ that is a radical set of proposals to reshape the finances of the game.

The ‘Revitalisation’ document has been written by Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group owners with the support of Manchester United.

They are also said to expect the backing of their fellow ‘big six’ clubs: Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Talks are said to have started in 2017 but have been ramped up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal includes a distribution of more money to the EFL pyramid but the longest serving Premier League teams would hold more power going forward.

Project Big Picture proposals

  • Premier League being reduced from 20 to 18 teams.
  • Special status for the nine longest serving clubs – with only the votes of six of those ‘long-term shareholders’ needed to make major changes.
  • £250million immediately given to the EFL to help them through the coronavirus crisis.
  • £100million gift to the FA.
  • 25 per cent of the Premier League’s annual revenue will go to EFL clubs.
  • Parachute payments for teams relegated from Premier League abolished.
  • League Cup and Community Shield would be abolished.
  • Fan charter that would include £20 away ticket price cap, subsidised away travel, focus on return to safe standing and minimum eight per cent capacity for away allocation.
  • Six per cent of Premier League gross revenues to go towards stadium improvements across top four divisions, calculated at £100 per seat.
  • New rules for distribution of Premier League income.
  • A women’s professional league separate of Premier League and the FA.
  • Plus changes to the loan system and a later league start date in August.

EFL chairman Rick Parry told the Telegraph he is in support of the proposals and said that he had support from many of the 72 member clubs.

There is likely to be opposition from Premier League clubs outside the top six with two fewer places in the top flight to fight over.

As it stands, along with the top six, the three longest serving teams who would be given special status would be Everton, Southampton and West Ham.

EFL chairman Rick Parry is in support of the idea
EFL chairman Rick Parry is in support of the idea

Those nine clubs would have an unequal amount of power over the rest of the remaining nine in the new structure with power to even veto a new owner taking over a club.

Under the proposals for the new model for distributing the TV money, the document insists the bigger clubs would not get a greater share.

The stated aim is to eliminate the huge gap in earnings between the Premier League and EFL but in return the Premier League would have greater control over decisions.

The Premier League issued a response to the story following its publication and said some of the proposals would have a damaging impact on the whole game.

A statement read: “We have seen media reports today regarding a plan to restructure football in this country.

“English football is the world’s most watched, and has a vibrant, dynamic and competitive league structure that drives interest around the globe. To maintain this position, it is important that we all work together.

“Both the Premier League and The FA support a wide-ranging discussion on the future of the game, including its competition structures, calendar and overall financing particularly in light of the effects of COVID-19.

“Football has many stakeholders, therefore this work should be carried out through the proper channels enabling all clubs and stakeholders the opportunity to contribute.

“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 that Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, 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.”

The EFL confirmed it has been working on ‘Project Big Picture’.

A statement read: “The English Football League today confirms that it has been working on an innovative proposal titled ‘Project Big Picture’ with a number of Clubs in the Premier League that looks to reset the economics and governance across the English football pyramid and in the process, protect the game in both the short and long term.”

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