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Premier League Reject 'Project Big Picture' Plans

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Manchester United and Liverpool are the driving force behind the biggest changes to English football in a generation and an extraordinary overhaul of the Premier League, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

The two clubs have worked together on a radical set of proposals – called “Project Big Picture” - that will reshape the finances of the game. The Premier League, the most lucrative sports league in the world, would see a reduction to 18 teams, and controlling power in the hands of the biggest clubs.

In return for tearing up many of the rules that have governed the game since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 there will be £250 million rescue package to the Football League to see them through the Covid crisis.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the details of the working document “Revitalisation” authored by Liverpool’s American ownership Fenway Sports Group with support from United. It anticipates the backing of the other members of the so-called big six, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

In a remarkable set of proposals, which will send shockwaves through the game, 25 per cent of the Premier League’s annual revenue will go to the EFL clubs with £250 million paid up front to see them through the current crisis. There would also be a gift of £100 million to sustain the Football Association.

However, there would be an abolition of the one-club, one-vote principle that has sustained the Premier League since its inception as well as the abolition of the threshold of 14 votes to pass any decision or regulation change.

Under the new proposals, the League Cup and the Community Shield would be abolished. There have been additional discussions that the League Cup would survive but without the participation of the clubs in Europe.

There would be two automatic promotion places for Championship clubs, but the third, fourth and fifth placed clubs would be in a play-off tournament with the 16th placed Premier League club.

The nine clubs who have been in the Premier League for the longest - which includes the big six - would dictate its running in every aspect and would be free to play more games in the expanded Champions League that is anticipated from the 2024-2025 season onwards.

As well as the Premier League dropping from 20 clubs to 18, there would be 24 in each of the Championship, League One and League Two making a total of 90.

The plan is supported by the EFL chairman Rick Parry who has held talks with Liverpool’s principal owner, the American investor John W Henry, and shareholder and director Mike Gordon. In addition, Parry has spoken to the Glazer family, who own United.

The talks began in 2017 but have been accelerated since the coronavirus pandemic has thrust football into the grip of crisis with no fans in stadiums until March at the earliest. Liverpool and United are prepared for a fierce debate over their proposals but they want them implemented as soon as possible.

The Revitalisation document calls for immediate action to cut dramatically what it calls the “revenue chasm” in earnings from television contracts between the Premier League and the EFL. In order to discourage Championship clubs from gambling recklessly on promotion, the parachute payments system would be abolished in favour of the 25 per cent share of Premier League revenue being shared more equitably among EFL clubs.

Under proposals for the new model of distribution of television revenue in the Premier League, Fenway, the driving force behind the document, insist there would be no greater share for the top six. Their stated aim is to eliminate the huge gap in earnings between Premier League and EFL clubs while in return having a greater control of the decisions made by the Premier League.

The document says: “A reset of the economics and governance of the English football pyramid is long overdue”.

The proposals also rewrite the Premier League’s 20-club democracy in favour of placing huge power in the hands of the nine clubs with the longest continual stay in the division. As things stand that is the big six, as well as Everton, Southampton and West Ham. Those nine clubs afforded “long-term shareholder status” would have unprecedented power, with the votes of just six of them required to make sweeping changes. These clubs would even be able to veto a new owner taking over a rival club.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Parry said that he had the support of many of his 72 members, many currently facing financial ruin, to go ahead with the plan. He said: “What do we do? Leave it exactly as it is and allow the smaller clubs to wither? Or do we do something about it? And you can’t do something about it without something changing. And the view of our clubs is if the [big] six get some benefits but the 72 also do, we are up for it.”

He accepted there would be opposition from the Premier League clubs outside the big six who would see it as detrimental to their financial prospects with less money and two fewer places in the top flight.

“It is definitely going to be challenging and it is an enormous change so that won’t be without some pain,” Parry said: “Do I genuinely think it’s for the greater good of the game as a whole? Absolutely. And if the [big] six are deriving some benefit then why shouldn’t they. Why wouldn’t they put their names to this otherwise?”

The proposals include:

£250 million immediately to the EFL to compensate its clubs for lost matchday revenue, deducted from future television revenue earnings and financed by a loan taken out by the Premier League

Special status for the nine longest serving clubs – and the vote of only six of those “long-term shareholders” required to make major changes, including amending rules and regulations, agreeing contracts, removal of the chief executive, and a wide-ranging veto including on club ownership

Premier League to go to 18 clubs from 20

£100 million one-off gift to the FA to cover its coronavirus losses, the non-league game, the women’s game, the grassroots

8.5 per cent of annual net Premier League revenue to go on operating costs and “good causes” including the FA

From the remainder, 25 per cent of all combined Premier League and Football League revenues to go to the EFL clubs

Six per cent of Premier League gross revenues to pay for stadium improvements across the top four divisions, calculated at £100 per seat

New rules for the distribution of Premier League television income, overseas and domestic, including proposals that base one portion on performance over three years in the league

The abolition of the League Cup and the Community Shield

24 clubs each in the Championship, League One and League Two reducing the professional game overall from 92 clubs to 90

A women's professional league independent of the Premier League or the FA

Two sides automatically relegated from the Premier League every season and the top two Championship teams promoted. The 16th place Premier League club in a play-off tournament with the Championship’s third, fourth and fifth placed teams.

Financial fair play regulations in line with Uefa, and full access for Premier League executive to club accounts

A fan charter including capping of away tickets at £20, away travel subsidised, a focus on a return to safe standing, a minimum away allocation of eight per cent capacity

Later Premier League start in August to give greater scope for pre-season friendlies, and requirement for all clubs to compete once every five years in a summer Premier League tournament

Huge changes to loan system allowing clubs to have 15 players out on loan domestically at any one time and up to four at a single club in England

 

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Reads as a lot of bullshit to preserve the status quo. Relegation and promotion teams in a play-off is a slap in the face imo

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The reduction in teams in the Premier League and loss of the League Cup are fine. I think there’s too many clubs in the Premier League anyway, so 18 is fine. I’ve been resigned to the League Cup going for a few years, too. 

The big six power snatching and effectively being in charge can fuck right off though. As can the convoluted play-off system they’d bring in. 

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Don’t mind the league cup going and the 18 teams but everything else can fuck off. 

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These 2 clubs should be banned from football, probably the two most hated clubs in the world! ¬¬

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Kind of backs up what @The Artful Dodger was saying in the general chat thread really in terms of how things are heading, especially as the two owners proposing it happen to be American. 

The League Cup going would most likely happen anyway, but giving all the power to 'the big six' and three select clubs, with only six of the nine needing to pass anything is dodgy as fuck (especially if the part @The Palace Fan is true). 

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8 minutes ago, Bluebird Hewitt said:

The League Cup going would most likely happen anyway, but giving all the power to 'the big six' and three select clubs, with only six of the nine needing to pass anything is dodgy as fuck (especially if the part @The Palace Fan is true). 

This. Worrying for where the game is headed. 

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It's a load of side points to ultimately hand over the power to 6 clubs. Would be probably the biggest nail in footballs coffin yet although given how corrupt the league is I wouldn't be surprised if they did manage to force this one through.

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What happens if any of the big 6 (unlikely) or the other 3 get relegated? Do they concede any kind of control in this? 

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Not surprised the Premier League aren't happy. Doesn't surprise me that the EFL are on board with it however. The League Cup going is not an issue as never understood why we have two domestic cups for Premier League and EFL teams and the 18 Premier League teams isn't a bad idea either but I can't support the play off idea and the power grab of 6 teams.

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8 minutes ago, Pyfish said:

Not surprised the Premier League aren't happy. Doesn't surprise me that the EFL are on board with it however. The League Cup going is not an issue as never understood why we have two domestic cups for Premier League and EFL teams and the 18 Premier League teams isn't a bad idea either but I can't support the play off idea and the power grab of 6 teams.

The EFL are only happy as they just see money and that's it really. 

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This won't get through yet but the attempted power grabs by owners of the "big six" won't stop. The pandemic is the latest big opportunity for them to make this play. "We'll sign a financial deal to help the EFL clubs which will cost us peanuts and in return we get all the voting power to further gear the footballing calendar in our favour and decimate the already negligible chances of any team winning even the trophies that we aren't arsed about".

Sickening but unsurprising. Like I said not this time but they'll get there eventually. Hopefully Liverpool fans will stick to their guns and fight against the Toryfication of football driven this time by their owners. The majority of Man Utd's fanbase has been a lost cause for a long time.

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19 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

This won't get through yet but the attempted power grabs by owners of the "big six" won't stop. The pandemic is the latest big opportunity for them to make this play. "We'll sign a financial deal to help the EFL clubs which will cost us peanuts and in return we get all the voting power to further gear the footballing calendar in our favour and decimate the already negligible chances of any team winning even the trophies that we aren't arsed about".

Sickening but unsurprising. Like I said not this time but they'll get there eventually. Hopefully Liverpool fans will stick to their guns and fight against the Toryfication of football driven this time by their owners. The majority of Man Utd's fanbase has been a lost cause for a long time.

You say that but it happened once before...

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Yeah this has already happened before in 1992 - funny to see the league upset about it this time tbh

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Well I wasn't alive in 1992 so I can't comment. I suppose the bare bones of it are a similar concept though. At least when the Premier League was formed they gave all 20 clubs an equal say.

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7 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

Well I wasn't alive in 1992 so I can't comment. I suppose the bare bones of it are a similar concept though. At least when the Premier League was formed they gave all 20 clubs an equal say.

I was only a kid so it’s not like I was aware of wtf was happening xD

But I think it was a bad idea in 1992 in hindsight & this idea is even worse.

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I’m surprised at how easily the Football League was bought. I’m not surprised that they were bought, just how easy it was. 

The big clubs across Europe seem to be mobilising and attempting to grab power domestically, which will lead to them doing the same eventually with the European tournaments. 

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Power grab for sure... Making sure they keep the top 6 on their side and getting the EFL to buy in on it for extra leverage... long term as well they will be able to keep the clubs with less down the ladder by having a say in new ownership of clubs in the PL... bit fucking rich that clubs like Chelsea and City would be able to block another club from having the same opportunities they had if it threatened their hold on things.. As always the rich giving just enough scraps to the poorer clubs to make them feel like they are benefitting while securing their long term goals for themselves... 

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I'd be disappointed with the loss of the League Cup. I know a lot of clubs treat it as an annoyance, but it's a good proving ground for younger/fringe players, and it's a chance to get a new group of fans in the stadium. Perhaps being I'm going too far here, but it's also a potentially realistic target for terrestrial TV.

Agree with all of you on the power grab. I do think there's an argument that it's not fair on teams like Bournemouth that teams like Fulham get a vote on long term issues and they don't, but this isn't the way to fix that.

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It’s comical that Everton, Southampton and West Ham are piggy backing on to this like the six clubs with all the power wouldn't shit on them if it came to it. 

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1 hour ago, Smiley Culture said:

It’s comical that Everton, Southampton and West Ham are piggy backing on to this like the six clubs with all the power wouldn't shit on them if it came to it. 

It might be more comical if it was actually true. They've only been mentioned at all because the proposal is that the 9 longest serving clubs in the league would have the shareholders voting power or whatever it's called and they happen to be the other 3 clubs that would be a part of that group if it was implemented now. As far as I've seen no club has commented on it at all outside of Liverpool and Man Utd.

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I don’t understand how West Ham are there but Aston Villa aren’t? Were Villa out of the league long enough?

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1 hour ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

I don’t understand how West Ham are there but Aston Villa aren’t? Were Villa out of the league long enough?

They've named the 9 teams currently on the longest runs in the Premier League. Southampton & West Ham came up in 2012 and Aston Villa only came up a year or so ago. They've deliberately cut it off there to assist with the rigging.

I actually think if this goes through I probably won't renew my season ticket. I just don't see the point anymore. We're capped at what we can achieve.

American owners are the worst. I don't really follow American sports but not far off every American owner in English football has been absolutely dreadful. They view it all very different to me.

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37 minutes ago, Dan said:

They've named the 9 teams currently on the longest runs in the Premier League. Southampton & West Ham came up in 2012 and Aston Villa only came up a year or so ago. They've deliberately cut it off there to assist with the rigging.

I actually think if this goes through I probably won't renew my season ticket. I just don't see the point anymore. We're capped at what we can achieve.

American owners are the worst. I don't really follow American sports but not far off every American owner in English football has been absolutely dreadful. They view it all very different to me.

It’s because they don’t care about the sport at all really, just the money

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The problem with American sport is that the celebrity culture in that country is worse than anywhere else and it predates any of their major sporting divisions being fully formed which results in the sport being built around celebrity culture. In Europe, sport existed long before the internet and big money television allowed this cancerous culture to spread across the land. At least our sport isn't born out of the cult of celebrity but it is slowly being absorbed by it.

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6 hours ago, Dan said:

They've named the 9 teams currently on the longest runs in the Premier League. Southampton & West Ham came up in 2012 and Aston Villa only came up a year or so ago. They've deliberately cut it off there to assist with the rigging.

I actually think if this goes through I probably won't renew my season ticket. I just don't see the point anymore. We're capped at what we can achieve.

American owners are the worst. I don't really follow American sports but not far off every American owner in English football has been absolutely dreadful. They view it all very different to me.

The cynic in me thinks they’ve been quite strategic about this. 

Everton - rich, new ground coming and want to break into that big six. 

Southampton - Moved to a more European model this summer, changing their U23’s to a B team and seem to operate how most do in Europe. 

West Ham - Easy vote. Get those poisonous little bastards involved and they’ll grab on to the coat tails of this for dear life. 

However, the three are interchangeable. Everton say no, they move on to Leicester, recent PL winners that aren’t the “big six” and almost identical to the reasons I said above for Everton. 

West Ham will cling on to this, I’m certain. But if they don’t, what other crappy owner could they target, who’ll do anything to retain Premier League status? Newcastle, of course. 

Southampton can be switched out for Wolves, who’d, I’m sure, love a say on matters and can splash the cash, which I’m sure the big six would welcome, but only to a point. 

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6 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

The cynic in me thinks they’ve been quite strategic about this. 

Everton - rich, new ground coming and want to break into that big six. 

Southampton - Moved to a more European model this summer, changing their U23’s to a B team and seem to operate how most do in Europe. 

West Ham - Easy vote. Get those poisonous little bastards involved and they’ll grab on to the coat tails of this for dear life. 

However, the three are interchangeable. Everton say no, they move on to Leicester, recent PL winners that aren’t the “big six” and almost identical to the reasons I said above for Everton. 

West Ham will cling on to this, I’m certain. But if they don’t, what other crappy owner could they target, who’ll do anything to retain Premier League status? Newcastle, of course. 

Southampton can be switched out for Wolves, who’d, I’m sure, love a say on matters and can splash the cash, which I’m sure the big six would welcome, but only to a point. 

They can't just "move on" to other teams. They've come up with a criteria because they know they have to make it so that technically you have to earn those voting rights by remaining in the top flight. Under the proposals, Arsenal for example would fall out of the chosen nine if they got relegated then came back up.

They can't just go, alright, these 9 teams are the ones who have agreed to this so they're now the elite ones. Remember they have to get 14 votes from the current 20 members and there's not a chance they achieve that if they just choose the 9 clubs who get the voting rights because 11 of the clubs who have to vote in favour of it will never get into that self-selected elite group. The whole thing falls apart without leaving the door ajar for the "little clubs" to naively believe they could be a part of the chosen few one day. The whole thing could have been written by the actual Tories.

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