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Liverpool and Manchester United Lead Proposal to Bail Out Championship, Plus Other Reforms

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‘Project Big Picture’ is aimed at COVID-related financial relief, but of course there’s no such thing as free money.

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

As reported by The Telegraph and BBC Sport, Liverpool and Manchester United are among a few clubs backing a proposal, ominously titled Project Big Picture, that would bring about reforms to English football, with the aim of tackling the financial hardships being faced by clubs in lower leagues due to the ongoing pandemic.

Here are some of its features:

  • The Football Association would receive a £100m sum to deal with the COVID-19 situation, and support women’s, grassroots and non-league football
  • A £250m bailout would be made available to EFL Championship clubs
  • 6% of the Premier League’s gross revenues would be spent on stadium improvements across the top four leagues
  • In exchange, nine of the longest serving Premier League Teams would be given special status - Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur as the ‘big six’, and West Ham, Everton and Southampton added to make up the nine
  • The ‘big six’ would have collective power to change certain league rules
  • The Premier League would be reduced to 18 teams, and the season would start later in August to allow more pre-season friendlies
  • The EFL Cup and Community Shield would be abolished
  • Clubs could loan out up to 15 players to other teams in England, with up to 4 at one club

This plan was supported by Rick Parry, current EFL Chairman and former CEO of the Premier League and Liverpool.

It was not well received by the Premier League, who released an official statement urging the work “to be carried out through the proper channels enabling all clubs and stakeholders the opportunity to contribute”, and expressing disappointment in Rick Parry’s support of it.

“Many will see this as an anti-competitive plot to concentrate power in the hands of the biggest clubs, opening the door to them controlling broadcast contracts and financial rules”, writes BBC Sports editor Dan Roan.

Whether this is viewed as a panacea for the non-Premier League clubs’ financial distress, or a Trojan Horse by bigger clubs to bully the rest, it’s unlikely that something like this will get passed without a fight from...literally everyone involved.