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All 20 Premier League clubs unanimously reject plans for massive shake-up

Written by on 14 October 2020

Plans from Liverpool and Manchester United to radically reform England’s top flight of football have been unanimously rejected by all 20 Premier League clubs.

The “Project Big Picture” plans – which would have resulted in the biggest shake-up of English football in a generation – aimed to reduce the number of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 18, with the majority of power put in the hands of the biggest clubs.

Premier League clubs have now said they will work together on a “strategic plan” to find a new way forward for English football after the project was rejected.

The English Football League, which is made up of the three divisions below the Premier League, confirmed the majority of its clubs supported the idea of Project Big Picture.

Colchester United chairman says Premier League should step in to help lower league clubs

The plans promised lower league clubs, which have been starved of income by the coronavirus pandemic, an immediate GBP250m rescue package and a 25% cut of future Premier League media revenues.

The Premier League has said it will still make a rescue package available to League One and League Two clubs to ensure they do not go out of business as a result of the outbreak.

The top flight said in its statement: “League One and League Two clubs rely more heavily on matchday revenue and have fewer resources at their disposal than Championship or Premier League clubs and are therefore more at risk, especially at a time when fans are excluded from attending matches.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool lifts The Premier League trophy following the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on July 22, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Paul Ellis/Pool via Getty Images)
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Premier League title holders Liverpool were supporters of Project Big Picture

“This offer will consist of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further GBP50 million on top of the GBP27.2m solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of GBP77.2m.

“Discussions will also continue with the EFL regarding Championship clubs’ financial needs. This addresses government concerns about lower league clubs’ financial fragility.

“Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them. The Premier League and all our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible.”

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What is going to happen to lower league football?

The Premier League had earlier said in its statement on Wednesday: “All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or The FA.

“Further, Premier League Shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid.

“Clubs will work collaboratively, in an open and transparent process, focusing on competition structure, calendar, governance and financial sustainability. This project has the full support of the FA and will include engagement with all relevant stakeholders including fans, government and, of course, the EFL.”

What did “Project Big Picture” propose?

  • Premier League reduced to 18 clubs
  • No EFL Cup or Community Shield
  • Special status for nine longest serving clubs
  • Only six of the nine longest-serving clubs need to vote for major change
  • GBP250m immediate compensation for EFL
  • Figure also represents coronavirus financial bail-out
  • Club who finishes 16th in Premier League to replace sixth-placed Championship club in EFL play-offs
  • Premier League to commit 25 per cent of future revenue to EFL