Sport

Premier League clubs reject 'Project Big Picture'

Premier League clubs reject 'Project Big Picture'”

"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", the Premier League said in a statement.

The League Cup and season curtain-raiser, the Community Shield, would also be scrapped, providing more space in the calendar for lucrative pre-season tours and potentially more matches in European club competition for the biggest clubs.

The plans have also been championed by EFL chairman Rick Parry, with teams in the Championship, League One and League Two in line to receive UK£250million (US$320 million) up front alongside a promise of a handsomely increased 25 per cent share of future Premier League broadcast revenue.

Funding for the game below the top flight would be overhauled, with £250m made available upfront to save ailing teams and a further £100m for the Football Association.

The principal objection to the plans is that the power will be concentrated in the hands of the "big six" - United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

"Clubs don't have every detail as yet on Project Big Picture, but it would appear on information provided to date to bring a short and long-term solution to making clubs more sustainable throughout the football pyramid especially in Leagues One and Two", Town's CEO told the Shropshire Star before its rejection.

That would include the power to approve or block takeovers of other clubs, for example the Saudi-backed deal for Newcastle United that recently fell through.

Clubs like Gillingham, who are reliant on matchday income, could have to cope without fans inside Priestfield for much of this season.

As for the Glazers, they saddled £540 million of debt onto United - who were previously debt-free - when they took over in 2005, and their takeover has reportedly since cost the club "more than £1 billion in interest, fees, refinancing penalties and other dead money".

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Lincoln chairman Clive Nates challenged Moxey's claim about unanimous League One support, tweeting: "Was he asleep when I expressed my grave concerns at the meeting over this diabolical power grab?"

The proposed move to a more American way of operating is yet another reminder of how out-of-touch football club owners are, and Henry and his Fenway Sports Group are no exception at Anfield.

"The message from Liverpool and Manchester United and their ownership is they actually genuinely do care about the pyramid", Parry added.

While Parry remained unequivocal in his support of the plan, the seeds of division have already been sowed.

A powerful alliance of the Premier League, government and supporters groups has warned about selling control over the game to a small band of clubs.

Instead of requiring 14 of 20 clubs to support major changes to the way the competition is run, only nine teams would be permitted to vote, of whom only six would need to agree.

The Premier League said the plans would have a "damaging impact on the whole game" while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport criticised "backroom deals". Change must benefit clubs, fans and players, not just selective balance sheets.

"There is tremendous wealth in football, particularly in the Premier League, when they're spending a billion pounds in the transfer window, and the Premier League needs to play its part in supporting football and getting those resources through to the EFL, because frankly it is in the Premier League's interest to do that because that provides the resource", Dowden said.



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