Plans to overhaul English football unanimously rejected by all 20 Premier League clubs
In footballing terms, the proposal did what we call a ‘Freddy Adu’, the one-time wonderkid who was touted as the next Pele, but ended up being more of a dud than Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United.
Reportedly led by the two giants of English football (no, not Adama Traore and Adebayo Akinfenwa), Manchester United and Liverpool, the proposal boasted several ideas that would have shaken up the Premier League as we know it, such as reducing the EPL to 18 teams, doing away with the League Cup (what will Manchester City live for then?), and scrapping the Community Shield.
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In return, however, the Premier League would have given 25 per cent of its annual income to English Football League clubs, as well as £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 have given £100m to the English Football Association to help it with its loss in revenue.
However, these plans have been put to bed after “Project Big Picture” was unanimously rejected at a Premier League shareholders’ meeting early Thursday morning (SGT).
Representatives of the 20 Premier League clubs gathered to discuss the proposal after details of it were reported in the news earlier this week, and decided as a whole that it would not do their clubs any good.
Given the backlash that news of the proposal had generated, we can only imagine both the Manchester United and Liverpool representatives twiddled their thumbs and buat bodoh (feign ignorance) during the meeting, given that even they did not vote for the proposal to go ahead.
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Nonetheless, the Premier League did commit to helping the teams in the lower league avoid bankruptcy during this period of Covid-19, by agreeing to provide £50 million in grants and interest-free loans to teams in League One and League Two. Talks with Championship clubs are still ongoing.
Following the meeting, the Premier League released a statement to pledge their commitment in ensuring the entire footballing ecosystem in England would be looked after.
The statement read: “All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or the Football Association (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.”