Premier League chief Richard Masters left red-faced after government grilling

Premier League chief Richard Masters was left red faced after being grilled over the “farce and pitiful” attempts to bail out the EFL.

Masters was also quizzed over the pay-per-view fiasco and asked “what bright spark” thought it would be a good idea in a pandemic.

It made for very uncomfortable viewing from the Department of Culture Media Sport Select Committee as chairman Julian Knight effectively gave the Premier League a seven day deadline to come up with a bail out package for the EFL.

But Knight gave Premier League chief executive Masters a series of awkward questions amid accusations they had broken promises made to the Government they would help the EFL in return for being given the green light for Project Restart in June.

Knight said: "Frankly it feels as if negotiations have taken far too long, and there is a degree of farce about them when it comes to 'Project Big Picture.'

"Ten EFL clubs are unlikely to make payroll this month, but you (Premier League) spend £1.2 billion in the transfer window. The idea of allowing you to come back was to allow you to help the rest of the sport.

The committee would like to see you come to a deal in double-quick time when it comes to League One and Two.

"It seems you are thrashing out in all directions to drag anything into this argument to make it more political than it needs to be, which is basically about football doing its job.”

Masters, who appeared alongside EFL chairman Rick Parry, insisted they had made offers to the EFL and their latest also included a rescue package for ailing clubs in the Championship.

Masters said: “We have been asked to step up and I believe we are doing that. The three organisations have worked on a complex calendar to maximise opportunity for all of us.

"In a broad offer to the EFL we have said no club needs to go out of business due to Covid-related reasons during the season."

Knight also tore into the Premier League over pay-per-view largely because it could encourage fans to group together and watch games after paying £14.95.

Masters defended the decision and insisted they were now ditching that. He said: "We took a decision to move to pay-per-view and now we are reviewing that decision.

“We have listened to feedback, we will be changing direction and moving away from it and taking another step that will see us through lockdown, the Christmas period and into January. I can't announce what it is."

Meanwhile, Masters has also insisted there would be no immediate return to the five substitutes rule despite calls from Liverpool and Manchester City with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola saying it would cause injuries to players.

Masters said they had already held two votes and, while he offered some sympathy with the big clubs, he said it was a “fine balance” between looking after the big clubs and also smaller teams with less depth and players.

Masters added: "[The season] is busier and also we ended the season at the end of July, not the end of May… I don't foresee it [number of subs] changing for the foreseeable future however.”

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