The Premier League have now released an official statement following reports that Manchester United and Liverpool were pushing for a ‘damaging’ restructure of the English football system.
The Telegraph reported today that rivals United and Liverpool were the ‘driving force’ behind proposals that would see the Premier League reduced to 18 teams from 20, in an alarming power grab.
These plans are part of ‘Project Big Picture’, with this particular proposal also calling for the end of the League Cup and Community Shield, whilst offering EFL clubs an upfront figure of £250m as part of a rescue package, with lower league clubs massively suffering due to the pandemic.
The Telegraph add that this plan has the support of EFL chairman Rick Parry, who has held talks with Liverpool’s principal owner John W. Henry and United’s ruling Glazer family.
Here’s the top-flight’s official response:
“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.”
As part of this plan, which has been labelled ‘damaging’ by the top-flight, the big six of Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Spurs would have greater control of decision made by the Premier League, with the current system of one vote per member club abolished.
Under the proposal, the nine clubs with the longest continual stay in the Premier League, including the top six plus Everton, Southampton and West Ham, would have the say in decisions.
Only six of these clubs would be required to agree on changes, including takeovers of other clubs.
The Telegraph report that talks over a revamp have been underway since 2017, under the plan that’s been reported today, the FA would be handed a gift payment of a staggering £100m.