Two weeks ago, it emerged Liverpool and Manchester United had formulated a plan for the future of English football. In short, they proposed to share a significant portion of Premier League revenues with the lower leagues to keep the football pyramid alive in exchange for more control over the Premier League for its top sides.
Unsurprisingly, while many liked the idea of saving the English pyramid, the plan met with heavy backlash from fans who overwhelmingly rejected the idea of a power grab by and for England’s richest clubs. Last week, the league itself moved to shut down Project Big Picture as an option. The question then is what would come next.
Today, we got that next when Sky reported that Liverpool and Manchester United were actively exploring the idea of helping to found a European Super League, an idea that has financial backing from FIFA and support from top clubs in other countries but in the past has found it more difficult to gather support in England.
As outlined, the so-called European Premier League could commence as soon 2022, would contain 18 clubs including five from England—with three of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Tottenham options to join Liverpool and United—and play a home-and-away season followed by a playoffs to crown the champion.
All told, there are said to be at least a dozen clubs in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain currently in negotiations—though as yet neither Liverpool nor United have actually signed on. That could signal that this latest news is being used as leverage by the clubs, a final attempt to push Project Big Picture reforms through.
With more than half of Europe’s 30 richest clubs in England, the Premier League is already a de facto super league, and in the past this was reflected by the fact clubs in Spain and Italy were the strongest proponents of a European super league—while the likes of Liverpool and United were content with the safety of the status quo.
As lucrative as a super league might be, for the likes of Liverpool and United it would come with risks and almost certainly mean leaving behind significant existing revenue, and so it seems potentially telling we’re learning of the two clubs’ involvement in negotiations shortly after their Project Big Picture proposal was rejected.