Liverpool, Manchester United back plan for major Premier League overhaul
The two great English clubs, who suffered shocking defeats on the weekend before the international break – Manchester United were slaughtered 1-6 by Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford and within hours of that, Liverpool slumped to a 2-7 defeat at Aston Villa – are said to be putting their weight behind a plan called Project Big Picture.
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Apparently put in place by English Football League (EFL) chairman Rick Parry, Project Big Picture would see the 20-team Premier League reduced to 18 teams, the League Cup in its current state abolished, the Community Shield discontinued, and control shifting to a group of nine made up of the Big Six of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, along with Everton, West Ham and Southampton.
Whereas the Premier League now needs the consent of at least 14 of the original 20 teams for a business decision to be made, the new plan would mean two-thirds or just six of these nine teams to agree before such a decision is passed.
If the plan goes through, the Premier League would give 25 per cent of its annual income to EFL clubs. The Premier League would also give £250 million (S$441.15m) to the teams in the Championship, League One and League Two as a rescue package to help them through this difficult time. The Premier League would also give £100m to the English Football Association to help it with its loss in revenue.
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While the measures are intended to address the gap between the Premier League and the clubs in the lower divisions, the Premier League has come out to state that the proposals could have a damaging impact on the whole game, without saying what these might be.
But with the move touted as a financial reset – one that sees revenue more effectively redistributed – it could be a step in the right direction.
Whether or not it will come to pass is another question. The move is seen in some quarters as a power grab on the part of the Premier League’s biggest clubs. Still, with the nine clubs likely to agree in a vote, another five more would be required to make the 14 for it to happen.
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However, with both Manchester United and Liverpool willing to put aside their historical rivalry to back such a plan, most other clubs might be curious enough and willing to explore what is in it for themselves.