There is a massive shake up on the cards for English football thanks to the introduction of Project Big Picture. Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool FC, have put forward this motion and it is currently in discussion by the 20 Premier League Clubs. If approved, this new format could see a huge shift in the way that the local leagues are played.
So far, the so-called big 6 teams – Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City – are reportedly for the proposal. However, that is hardly surprising considering that they will be given preferential treatment and voting rights under Project Big Picture.
The Changes to the EFL
The main points for Project Big Picture that will impact the entire English football community include voting rights. One-club, one-vote will go out the window and only the nine clubs that have been part of the Premier League the longest will have a say in voting matters. These clubs are the big 6, plus West Ham, Everton and Southampton. Additionally, voting concerns will no longer need a majority of 14 clubs out of 20 approving something for it to pass. Now, only six of the nine will need to be in agreement.
Other changes include getting rid of the Community Shield and the EFL Cup. The Premier League would go from 20 clubs down to 18. Then, the bottom two teams would be automatically relegated, and two replacements promoted at the end of each season. The final change in the PL would be decided in a play-off between the 16th place team and teams three, four and five in the Championship.
Leagues One and Two, as well as the Championship will remain at 24 clubs in each. However, losing two teams from the Premier League will mean that overall, two clubs will need to be cut from the EFL. This would cause major concern for some of the smaller clubs around the country.
The biggest motivator for this proposal is apparently the change in the way finances are handled. Project Big Picture states that a quarter of the annual revenue from the Premier League will be paid to the EFL clubs. This is a massive jump from the current 4% that is paid over. The aim is to end the parachute payments that are usually made by the relegated sides each year.
The Premier League will also pay the English Football League a rescue fund of 250 million Pounds, plus a second payment to the Football Association of 100 million Pounds. This is to help the country’s football community to make it out of the financial difficulties that it is facing due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The hope is to stabilize the sport and the clubs in a period of great uncertainty.
The money for this bail out is meant to come from the Premier League clubs that have at least been able to make an income on matches through TV revenue.