“Project Big Picture” was kicked out by Premier League clubs as all 20 owners met for the first time to discuss the radical proposals and decided it is not something they want to move forward with.
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The “Project Big Picture” plan to shake up the way the Premier League is run, how clubs vote and how much money is distributed to the other professional leagues in England was backed by Liverpool and Manchester United and EFL chairman Rick Parry and leaked to The Telegraph last weekend.
A statement from the Premier League confirmed the proposal was talked about but the clubs agreed that “Project Big Picture” is now done and dusted, and they will instead work together to help provide funds to the lower leagues of English soccer who need more help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is the Premier League statement on “Project Big Picture” in full:
“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.”
“Also at today’s meeting it was agreed to make available a rescue package which aims to ensure that League One and League Two clubs will not go out of business as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19 and be able to complete the 2020/21 season.
“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. This offer will consist of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further £50million on top of the £27.2million solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of £77.2million.”
Talks on Championship finances
“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.”
Among the controversial proposals is to reduce the number of Premier League clubs from 20 to 18, while nine clubs (the ‘big six’ plus Everton, West Ham and Southampton) would become major shareholders and have a bigger say in decisions instead of the 14 out of 20 rule currently needed for votes to pass.
They plan also wanted to cancel the League Cup and FA Community Shield competitions.
EFL clubs (Championship, League One and League Two) overwhelmingly support the plans from Parry as $325 million would be given immediately to the lower tiers of English soccer to help clubs survive amid a severe financial crisis with no fans allowed in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated up to a dozen could go out of business in early 2021 unless something drastic changes.
Most Premier League clubs would agree they need to do more to help the clubs below them in the soccer pyramid in England. But that’s not the big issue here.
The biggest sticking point is that only six of the nine clubs which have special status are needed to vote in favor of something for major changes to be made in the Premier League. So, for example, if Man United, Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea want to change the rules of the Premier League in a major way, they could do it.
This debate will rumble on and on and the Premier League have already released a statement saying they aren’t in favor of ‘Project Big Picture” but are keen to discuss how the structure of spending in the PL and EFL can be improved.
There’s no doubt they will continue to help out the teams below them but it seems like very few of the current 20 Premier League clubs are in favor of a wholesale restructuring, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.