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Premier League giants propose shrinking top flight in major shake-up

Written by on 11 October 2020

The biggest shake-up of English football in a generation is being proposed by Manchester United and Liverpool – which would see the number of teams in the top flight reduced from 20 to 18.

Sky News’ sports correspondent Martha Kelner said the changes would be “seismic” and put the majority of the power into the hands of the biggest clubs.

The plan – called Project Big Picture – has been confirmed to Sky News and was first reported in the Sunday Telegraph.

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Premiership giants asked to help smaller clubs

As well as a change in size, the new proposals would change the leagues finances and power system.

A quarter of the league’s revenue would go to the English Football League (EFL), with GBP250m paid up front to help them through the coronavirus crisis.

The FA would also receive GBP100m as a gift.

A change in the power structure would mean an end to the one-club, one-vote system.

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Instead, the nine clubs that have been in the league for the longest amount of time will have full control of the running of the league.

Those teams would also be able to play more games in the Champions League, which is set to be expanded in 2024.

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Across the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two, there would be 90 clubs in total, and the League Cup and Community Shield competitions would also be abolished.

For Championship clubs, there would be two automatic promotion places, whole the third, fourth and fifth placed clubs would enter into the play-offs with the 16th placed Premier League club.

The move has support from the chairman of the EFL, Rick Parry, who has held talks with both Liverpool and Manchester United.

Lower league clubs have been calling for more support, after the coronavirus crisis left them unable to open their grounds.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the chairman of Colchester United, a League Two club, said the Premier League “really should step in and do something” because they are “in danger from the building that’s crumbling below them”.

Losing football clubs to COVID-19 would be a 'national outcry'

Losing football clubs to COVID-19 would be a ‘national outcry’

“The Premier League sits on top of a pyramid, and it’s a really proud thing we have in our game, this system that goes all the way down into non-league as well,” Robbie Cowling told Sky News.

“Most of the England team, most of the Premiership teams, their players have come from grassroots, they’ve all played under-9s football somewhere.

“The Premier League seems to think that we suck from it, but that’s not the case. It sucks from the rest of the pyramid system. It really should step in and do something. They have to.

“If they think they’re enjoying this penthouse view and they’re not in danger from the building that’s crumbling below them, they’re absolutely mad.”