Premier League downplays reports of ‘damaging’ plans to restructure football in England

The Premier League has downplayed reports of “damaging” proposals to drastically change the structure of English football.

As first reported in the Telegraph today suggested Liverpool and Manchester United were driving a revolutionary plan labelled “Project Big Picture”.

The main concepts would include reducing the number of teams in the Premier League to 18 and increasing the power held by the biggest clubs.

But the Premier League has now downplayed reports and criticised EFL chairman Rick Parry for supporting the plan on the record.

“We have seen media reports today regarding a plan to restructure football in this country,” read an official Premier League statement.

“English football is the world’s most watched, and has a vibrant, dynamic and competitive league structure that drives interest around the globe. To maintain this position, it is important that we all work together. Both the Premier League and The FA support a wide-ranging discussion on the future of the game, including its competition structures, calendar and overall financing particularly in light of the effects of COVID-19.

“Football has many stakeholders, therefore this work should be carried out through the proper channels enabling all clubs and stakeholders the opportunity to contribute.

“In the Premier League’s view, a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game and we are disappointed to see that Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, has given his on-the-record support.

“The Premier League has been working in good faith with its clubs and the EFL to seek a resolution to the requirement for COVID-19 rescue funding. This work will continue.”

Further reported details of ‘Project Big Picture’ would see the Premier League agreeing to give 25 per cent of its future TV deals to the EFL and bringing an end to parachute payments.

The Championship play-offs would include the 16th-placed Premier League side, who would then compete to stay up with three teams from the second tier.

In return for increased financial security, the Premier League’s voting structure would be ended, changing away from one club, one vote and a majority of 14 required to pass new rules, to a new system with “long-term shareholder status”, held by the nine longest-serving teams in the league.

The big six would be joined by Everton, Southampton and West Ham United and only six of these nine would be required to push through changes.

The League Cup and Community Shield would be scrapped, while there could be a new “Premier League summer tournament”.

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