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Project Big Picture: The Key Proposals Revealed
Monday, 12th Oct 2020 10:29

Many football fans have been up in arms after the so called Project Big Picture was revealed, here we give you the full details of the plan, there are some good things in it, but for most it is a step too far.

Ex Daily Echo reporter Jeremy Wilson has laid out the details on the plan in an article in the telegraph.

In truth the plan offers many concessions that supporter groups have been fighting for over a number of years, it also contains provision to ensure that the pyramid system survives, but there are other things in that for many will be unacceptable.

The proposals seem to offer a lot of little concessions in order to disguise the fact that under them all are several bigger ones that will effectively hand control to a number of clubs at the top of the pyramid.

On the face of it, it most look good idea, but the reality is that it will allow the big clubs to get bigger and the Premier league will be virtually a closed shop with a dozen clubs allowed in to be cannon fodder.

Also tucked in is the proposal that each club would be able to sell and take the money from 8 home fixtures, doesn't sound much, but it would impact greatly on the rest of the league who rely on some revenue from being selected for a TV match away to a big club.

With the removal of the League cup that will take away the best hope of many clubs of a little glory and with that European competition entry, that place will be thrown back into the Premier League to ensure that if the Big Six slip up in the EFL Cup then they won't lose out and have to watch a small club take part.

The reduction in numbers is fine for those who play all these Champions League games, but for the majority of the Premier League clubs a 38 game league season is not too much and with the removal of the League cup the season will get even shorter.

I find it distasteful that in a period of World Crisis that is impacting on clubs at all levels of football, that the Big Six are offering a rescue package, but at a big cost, one that under normal circumstances would be rejected out of hand.

Personally I think that it is time for the Big Six to go their own way and enter a European Super league, I have thought that for a long time now, a look back at the last 30 years does not make good reading, it is dominated by those with money, cut them adrift and reform English football with the rest of us, it will once again be competitive and that is what most football fans want.

OK we won't see the top names play initially, but then again how many people actually get the chance to see them in action in person anyway, usually only once a season when a Big Six club rolls into town or if you follow your team to the away fixture.

The problem for them is that a European Super League would see only 1 or 2 maybe 3 of them involved and that would mean those not selected would be cut adrift, that league would want Liverpool and Manchester United for sure, Man City would get in because they have the money, but after that Chelsea, Spurs & Arsenal might struggle as by the time the other big European teams have been added their might not be too many places left.

Football is due a revolution, but it may not be what the BIg Six have thought it would be, nor would they like it.

The Key Proposals are :

Rescue Fund
An immediate rescue fund of £350,000,000 to the English Football League and Football Association for lost revenues of 2019/20 and 2020/21...

For the EFL:

£50,000,000 to cover 2019/20 EFL matchday losses;

Up to £200,000,000 available to cover 2020/21 EFL matchday losses;

Money will be advanced to the EFL from increased future revenues.

For the FA:

£100,000,000 in grants, made up of £55,000,000 to cover operational losses, £25,000,000 for clubs below the EFL, £10,000,000 for the Women’s Super League and Championship, £10,000,000 for grassroots

Funds to be made available by the Premier League through loans guaranteed by the clubs.

Infrastructure Plan
Infrastructure funding of 6% of Premier League gross revenues to be distributed annually to the top four divisions.

Each club will receive £100 per seat annually.

Infrastructure funding can only be used for stadia and fan experiences.

Fan Charter
A cap of £20 on Premier League away ticketing (adjusted every 3 years for inflation)

Subsidised Premier League away travel

Safe-standing sections at the discretion of each club, subject to government permission.

Away sections must provide at least 3,000 or 8% of capacity, whichever is higher.

Annual Good Causes
An increase of 66% in annual contributions to good causes in England.

A total of 5% of Premier League gross income to be contributed annually to good causes and grassroots football, to include focus on combatting racism and discrimination.

Redistribution of Media & Sponsorship Revenues (three possible options)
Option A: 50% equal, 25% current-year merit, 25% previous 3-year merit

A greater emphasis will be placed on merit in both the Premier League and the Championship with half of payments reflecting positions over the past four years.

Option B: Current Premier League distribution scheme (50% equal, 25% by merit and 25% by facility fees) but newly promoted clubs must holdback £25m of first two years in the Premier League to mitigate risk of relegation.

Option C: Current Premier League distribution scheme, but newly promoted clubs receive 25% of their allocated Facility Fees for first 3 years in league.

For all above options:
Excluding parachute payments and including new infrastructure payments, solidarity from the Premier League to the English Football League would increase from 4% to 25%.

Premier League and English Football League domestic and international media rights will be collectively sold by the Premier League.

Compensation payments to The EFL and FA, infrastructure monies and related borrowings are deducted prior to determination of distributable revenues.

Pyramid structure
The Premier League, originally formed to house 18 clubs,would be reduced from 20 to 18 clubs.

This would free up the calendar and, with fewer teams and an end to parachute payments, provide additional resources to the EFL.

Reduction from 38 to 34 rounds of matches will also aid the national team.

Championships, League One and League Two to all be made up of 24 clubs

Promotion and relegation
Premier League relegation. At least 2 clubs automatically relegated annually

Championship promotion: 1st and 2nd automatically promoted.

Club finishing 16th in the Premier League joins four team Championship play-off tournament with teams who finish 3rd, 4th and 5th. Semi-finals would be 16th place PL team vs 5th place Championships team nad 3rd place Championship team against 4th place Championship team.

Championship relegation – 3 clubs

Leagues One and Two: promotion of 3 clubs. Relegation of 4 clubs

Club media
All Premier League clubs have the exclusive rights to sell eight live matches a season directly to fans via their own digital platforms in all international territories.

All Premier League and Championship clubs allowed to show limited in-match highlights on their own digital platforms.

No more than 27 games per club will be shown live in UK per season

Saturday 3pm broadcast blackouts remain to help protect EFL attendance

Other competitions
League Cup and Community Shield discontinued;

Establishment of a new independent league for the Women’s professional game, not to be owned by the Premier League or The Football Association;

FA Cup replays retained but there will be no replays in the winter break;

Premier League begins later in August and pre-season friendlies extended;

No more than two weeks between the end of the Premier League and the Champions League final;

Premier League clubs must participate at least once every five years in the Premier League summer tournament.

Other structural changes
Elite Player Performance Plan funding is included in the revenue received by EFL clubs;

Clubs in League One and below are no longer required to have an academy;

Clubs permitted to have up to 15 players out on loan domestically at any time, including up to four in a single English club. Introduction of one month loans for players under 23, an ability to recall loanees in the event of managerial change, incentivise loanee clubs through payments based on future performance or sale of loaned players;

Remove the scholarship clause permitting players to terminate at any stage.

Cost Controls & Related Party Income
Financial Fair Play rules that align with Uefa to ensure English clubs are not at a disadvantage in Europe;

A £50 million cap per annum on all related party transactions and a more stringent ‘related party’ definition;

Premier League executive provided with full access to clubs accounting information to investigate cost control

A joint Premier League and Championship body will monitor cost controls.

The English Football League will introduce hard salary caps.

All material matters relating to the business of the Premier League will require shareholder approval, except that the Board will decide whether to approve a new owner;

All votes will require more than two-thirds majority to be approved;

All other votes for the operation of the Premier League will be one-club, one-vote except those provided for under ‘Special Voting Rights’

Special Voting Rights
Each of the nine clubs who, at any time of determination, have been members of the Premier League continuously for more seasons than other clubs will be considered a ‘Long-Term Shareholder’.

Two-thirds of the long-term shareholders can cause to be adopted without approval from the other clubs:

i) the election or removal of the CEO and/or a member of the board;

ii) amendments to cost control rules and regulations;

iii) contracts for the sale of league broadcasting and media rights

Two-thirds of the long-term shareholders can prevent from being adopted resolutions to:

i) change the distribution rights of the sponsorship, commercial and broadcasting rights sold


ii) change the distribution to clubs from other PL centralised rights or assets

c) alter in a material way the nature of the competition

Two-thirds of the long-term shareholders can veto the Premier League board’s approval of a proposed new owner

Photo: Action Images

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halftimeorange added 10:41 - Oct 12
The death knell for football in England? It has been becoming boring with the big six dominating the domestic scene, the European qualification system and television coverage. I can't see the proposals getting the necessary support. If they do I suspect I won't be the only one surrendering my season ticket. The Covid situation seems to have rendered a more equal league with some promising results against the top teams, possibly because of the lack of their supporters and less pressure on officials. Nevertheless, no-one likes seeing their team thrashed and the Man City dismantling of Watford at Wembley (6-0) totally devalued the status of that spectacle. If your team regularly has no chance then the result is you won't pay to watch humiliation.

IanRC added 11:39 - Oct 12
More evidence of attempts to rig the game by some of the so called ‘big 6’ . Since when do Spurs qualify incidentally, they haven’t won the league since the 60s. Would love to see one of them relegated. Just shows elements of the English game are as corrupt as FIFA. If adopted another hammer blow against fair play. Don’t expect our voting status would last long either.

Big_T added 13:02 - Oct 12
Two thirds of the Long Term Shareholders !!!!
So that's the "big 6" then !
So basically the "big 6" will have complete control over;
Changing the distribution rights of the sponsorship, commercial and broadcasting rights sold for the whole Premier League ?????
Utter madness if this goes through !

I say let the "big 6" break off and form the euro "super" league that they so desperately want !
After 2-3 years of novelty value it will lose fans and money v.fast, this will give the remaining clubs the chance to restructure the finances equally creating a better league, then when the "big 6" want to come back, tell them to go down the leagues and re-enter :-)

NewburySaint added 13:32 - Oct 12
Money, money, money-even shortening the season so more pre season friendlies is clearly about making money.

As Big T points out the last bit is very telling in that two thirds of the long term shareholders get the majority on the most important of votes i.e the big six.

I agree Nick that hopefully the so called big six go their separate way, a thought i've had for a number of years-hopefully this won't get voted through, the big six throw their toys out of their prams and do 1 and set up a separate league or and Euro Super League!

saintmark1976 added 13:35 - Oct 12
The current suggestions of change may or may not be to everyone taste. I personally would not support them. However I think we are somewhat missing the point in that unless there is a reliable proven vaccine before the start of next season,professional football may well just simply die on its feet.

For the paying public, endlessly playing games behind closed doors (whether televised or not) is not a sustainable short term, let alone long term business plan.

The Premiership clubs in particular may well soon find that their endless greed may simply be defeated by an event ( COVID-19) well beyond their control.


underweststand added 14:01 - Oct 12
A lot to digest here, but some of the suggestions go down well.
I've been advocating a Euro Super League for a long time. Quite clearly any club that wins Premier League by 20 points, is obviously in a class of its own, and even the top 4 /6 who can finish 10 points clear of 7th / 8th place are decidedly better than "the rest".
Instead of having the" Big Six" fighting for a CL place every season put them all in one Euro Super League to strat with and let them fight it out.

The Prem. would become more competitive and any "ordinary club " capable of winning the Prem. title could take a step up , whilst one of the "big Leaguers" could go down.

More money to the lower leagues is essential, as the "big Clubs" can pay many millions for foreign players, we need to stimulate domestic clubs and help them sustain their position and allow their better players to move up a league... or two on merit.

Aside from concerns about "where all the money goes" we need to ensure than our " B team / U23 levels" have a decent league to play in and Prem. sides should be allowed to have a team at L1 / L2 level to help develop young talent, as is commonplace in Europe.


Colburn added 14:15 - Oct 12
I think you're close St Mark... It is of no surprise to see an attempt of more power shifting from small businesses to the larger corporations within football, because that has been a theme of 2020 in all areas of world business... Wealth transfer from family and small businesses to the 'elite'. When there's gaps in the market after companies fold, there's always someone ready to take their place.. Football is a massive industry so I don't see why it would develop differently in this 'climate' to how other industries currently are. Major power shifts, very few eyebrows being raised, Le God aside..

SanMarco added 15:21 - Oct 12
Well said Colburn - elite football has followed the massive corporations and financial institutions in its flowing of everything up to the most wealthy.

It is of course hugely cynical to use Covid to try and push this through but no one will be surprised by that.

There are one or two good things in it - obviously the help for lower tiers and getting rid of the parachute payments but it is basically a 'big six' charter.

Spuds have not won the league in my lifetime (born August 61) and the most curious thing of all is this list of 9 including us, Wet Spam and Everton. We are actually 11th in the list (seasons in the EPL) and Mancheter City are 10th. Newcastle and Villa (not in the big 9) are level 7th-8th. Basically if you are having a big 9 based on that list then Man City aren't in it. However you work out the 'big 9' Saints are not in it. They have chosen 9 because 2 thirds of it is 6 and they have had to fiddle the membership to include all of the 'elite. This is as cynical as anything that Boris Johnson has EVER done.

I hope that we don't support it just because we are on the list.

ElijahK added 15:58 - Oct 12
Sport but I don’t know if I’d want to be a saints fan if our club backs this up! As for starters why isn’t Villa and Newcastle one of these teams with the power seeing that they deserve it more than us or West Ham do! But nether the less, it’s just now a step up from having the ‘top 6 controlling the premier league on the pitch, to them controlling it off of the pitch too, which is utterly disgraceful and should not happen! I mean what needs to be sorted out on power isn’t them gaining any, but then loosing it as really there shouldn’t be a ‘top 6’ as the premier league is meant to be a league that anyone can win! Not just the same 6 teams! I mean you’ve also got the fact that we’ll be going down by 2 more teams, so less games but more friendliest which NOBODY WANTS! And the removal of the efl cup!
I mean if this does go ahead then I’m certainly not buying any more season tickets as football has been getting worse and worse over time, especially in the money gaps, and if this would be to happen, then enough is enough!

mattthelegend added 18:46 - Oct 12
Football, used to be a simple game once upon a time, it’s now just a total mess.

ItchenNorth added 22:15 - Oct 12
The sooner they all naff off and join a European Super League the better. There are plenty of large clubs with big fanbases up and down the country. If they left it would reignite football in this country. Many clubs would suddenly be in with a shout of domestic glory; how exciting would that be! I have no interest in the likes of Liverpool, Man U, City, Chelsea etc, they can go as far as I'm concerned.

SaintPaulVW added 06:12 - Oct 13
This proposal has some good points but is a bit too obvious in its intent.

It seems sensible that the big 6 break off and play in some European league. However this would inevitably take most of the TV money out of the EPL. It would be a big adjustment. Better to start talking and planning for this as early as possible. This may be the start.

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Letters from Wiltshire #09 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
Lots of discussion this week on football forums, including here, on two subjects – the petition to lobby parliament to allow limited numbers of supporters back into football grounds, and of course the return of that old chestnut from Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, introducing Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL. First off, I don’t mind admitting I’ve signed the petition ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036 ), as have 192,779 others at the time of writing, though I don’t actually think it’ll make any difference. I can completely understand why some do not think this is a good idea, as second-wave spikes of coronavirus infection pop up all over the country (mainly because – let’s face it – some people are dicks and can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet). But to me, the two go hand in hand (not dicks and toilets) – whilst football clubs throughout the country struggle financially without spectators, we are always going to be under threat of this sort of ‘B’ team nonsense as a condition of financial support from the Premier League fat cats. They got their way in 2016 with the EFL trophy, who’s to say they won’t again when the financial squeeze really starts to tighten its grip without paying customers through the turnstiles? Robbie has featured prominently in this debate in recent weeks, and looks like he will again on Sky tomorrow if this tweet from Sophy Ridge is anything to go by -
Letters from Wiltshire #07 by wessex_exile

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