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Premier League Clubs Reject Project Big Picture
Wednesday, 14th Oct 2020 21:18

Football supporters in England will be relived to here that the Premier league clubs gave short shrift to the Project Big Picture put forward by Liverpool & Manchester United but did put forward that a proper strategic plan should be worked upon.

The Big Picture which was described as a sugar coated cysanide pill by the Football Supporters Association had been put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United, along with EFL chairman Rick Parry, the plans of which which emerged at the weekend.

If adopted they would have represented the most significant changes in English football since the introduction of the Premier League in 1992, with a major shift in league voting rights proposed which would have put far greater power in the hands of the top flight’s so-called ‘big six’ clubs.

But they have been knocked back at a clubs meeting held on Wednesday.

A league statement read:

“All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League or the FA.

“Further, Premier League shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid.”

A rescue package has also been agreed to help League One and League Two clubs.

The statement continued: “Also at today’s meeting it was agreed to make available a rescue package which aims to ensure that League One and League Two clubs will not go out of business as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19 and be able to complete the 2020-21 season.

“League One and League Two clubs rely more heavily on matchday revenue and have fewer resources at their disposal than Championship or Premier League clubs and are therefore more at risk, especially at a time when fans are excluded from attending matches.

“This offer will consist of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further £50 million on top of the £27.2m solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of £77.2m. Discussions will also continue with the EFL regarding Championship clubs’ financial needs. This addresses Government concerns about lower league clubs’ financial fragility."

“Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them. The Premier League and all our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible.”

All football supporters will welcome this news or at least those that in normal times attend matches rather than relying on TV to watch their team live, it is good to see that the Premier League is finally recognising the importance of the lower divisions and the duty of care they owe to those smaller clubs like Forest Green, Fleetwood, Accrington and Portsmouth all of whom struggle to survive.

It is also interesting to see that the two clubs names as the driving force voted against the plan, clearly those at the top had tried to mount a coup, but realising they had completely misread the depth of feeling have been forced into a climbdown.

We have dodged a real bullet, but hopefully it has awakened football and it's clubs especially those at the top will have taken a step back and realised the game is being consumed by greed and it will eventually implode if not checked.

Photo: Action Images

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IanRC added 21:46 - Oct 14
Good news at least in the short term, though I am sure they will try again. As you say Nick, need to ensure all clubs receive the support they need not just the big 6. That said easier said than done,

davidargyll added 10:57 - Oct 15
I suspect that the package as put forward by the Big 6 will be amended to a certain extent but, face it, the basic principal of buying off the lower leagues in exchange for more control will happen. After all the £250m deal was presumably seen as not enough by the EFL et al, but maybe £500m would be? I have no idea but everyone has their price. In other words the less well-off clubs will just have to face the fact that their days of influence are numbered.
But if pushed I fail to see what the difference is between zillonaire owners now and millionaire owners back in the day. Small clubs are always going to be jealous of big clubs' finances and bleat on about the whole system being unfair, but I am afraid that that is capitalism for you; when the Murdoch shilling was waved everybody came running, and I mean everybody.
But in some ways that misses the crucial point, which is that there are zero clubs whose success or failure has not been based upon good management, both off - ie financial - and on the pitch; crap management ultimately leads to lower league football, regardless of how rich the top teams are.

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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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