Liverpool and Manchester United remain committed to a sweeping restructuring that would downsize the Premier League despite fierce opposition from the top executive, many clubs and the government.
On another dramatic day, Boris Johnson added his voice to condemnation of the Big Picture Project, the FA said it could use its ‘golden share’ to block reforms and the EFL was plunged into further turmoil with the resignation of CEO David Baldwin just when President Rick Parry’s future was in question.
The Premier League rebels will not be deterred by the chaos that has engulfed them since their controversial plans were leaked on Sunday, and will present their case at an emergency meeting of the 20 clubs later this week.
Liverpool and Manchester United remain committed to moving the Big Picture project forward
Owners of Liverpool (left) and Manchester United (right) met on Monday to discuss their plans
Sports messaging has learned that Liverpool owner John Henry and his United counterpart Joel Glazer held crisis talks on Monday on how to move their project forward in the face of growing opposition.
Henry and Glazer will continue to push for an 18-club Premier League, which they believe is needed to create more space in the calendar for bigger clubs to participate in an enlarged Champions League.
However, it is recognized that proposed governance reforms giving the Big Six an effective veto and a greater share of broadcast revenues may need to be watered down. The introduction of the new structure to coincide with the next round of TV contracts at the start of the 2022-23 season remains their aspiration.
Glazer and Henry both try to reduce the Premier League to just 18 teams instead of 20
Henry and Glazer are also believed to dispute the Premier League’s claims that their proposals would change the distribution of broadcast revenue and club prices above the table to the bottom by a ratio of 1.8: 1 to 4: 1.
They claim the change would come at a more modest ratio of around 2.25: 1, which would still make the Premier League the fairest top division in Europe.
The Americans have also pledged to increase the financial contribution of the elite to subdivisions to around £ 700million per year, which, with a promised Covid-19 bailout of £ 250million, was enough to get the ball rolling. Parry’s support, much to the dismay of many. Premier League clubs.
The Premier League has called an emergency meeting of the clubs to clear the air amid anger that the majority only learned of the sweeping proposals when they were leaked on Sunday.
Premier League holds emergency meeting to have clear talks with clubs
Representatives of Liverpool and United will be asked to describe their role in crafting secret plans that have been in private circulation for so long that Project Big Picture is now in its 17th draft, while the rest of the Big Six will also be held. to be held to account after it emerged that they held a private meeting to discuss the proposals last Thursday.
Only Liverpool and Manchester United have confirmed they will back the plans
It is understood that a second meeting scheduled for Sunday was called off at the last minute after the plans were leaked.
While the rest of the Big Six have yet to commit to supporting the reforms and are uncomfortable going public with them, at least one club was interested enough to have submitted proposals for revisions. of the 17th project on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the First meeting.
Given that an 18-team Premier League would suit their long-term strategic interests, they are unlikely to be ready to drop all proposals either.
Only Liverpool and United were ready to publicly approve the plans when contacted by Sports messaging Monday, with eight clubs highlighting their opposition, although the fact that 10 declined to comment indicates there is some debate to be had.
In another important development on Monday, the FA said they would be willing to use the so-called ‘gold share’ they received when the Premier League was formed in 1992 to block changes.
The FA’s position is nuanced rather than openly hostile, as their chairman Greg Clarke has been involved in the talks for several months.
EFL and President Rick Parry (above) support Big Picture Project plans
The main concern of the FA is to protect the pyramid of English football, so that it is guided by the sentiments of the clubs in each division.
The board has a number of concerns about the proposals, particularly the plan to abolish the community shield, which it would fiercely resist due to the value of its broadcast rights and the money that this flagship opportunity generates for charity.
The EFL remains firmly in favor, with Parry arguing that the plans would provide a reset to reduce the financial hole between the Premier League and the Championship in particular, as well as to prevent League One and League Two clubs from going bankrupt in the crisis. of Covid-19. .
However, they face other problems following the unexpected resignation of David Baldwin. The former Burnley chief executive only joined the EFL in June, but quickly lost his illusions due to difficulties dealing with a wide range of clubs with competing schedules.
Baldwin will serve a six-month notice period after making the decision to step down before plans for the Big Picture Project emerge over the weekend.
David Baldwin resigned from his post as EFL chief executive despite not taking on the role until June
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his opposition to the Big Picture project
His departure is a blow to the EFL, especially as it is in negotiations with the Premier League over the Covid-19 rescue project, which could now be threatened due to their disagreement with Parry.
The Premier League took the unusual step of publicly criticizing its former chief executive in a strongly worded statement on Sunday, and Parry will likely be blamed by EFL clubs if the Big Picture project’s distribution element or rescue does not materialize.
In another blow to the proposals, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson underscored his opposition, saying the plan “does not receive support through the Premier League and that it is exactly this type of behind-the-scenes transaction that undermines the confidence in the governance of football ”.
So how will your club vote?
By Adrian Kajumba for the Daily Mail
The controversial Big Picture Project plans will require a major overhaul to get started following fierce opposition from Premier League clubs.
Currently, at least 14 of the 20 clubs in the Premier League must vote in favor of any major proposal for their introduction.
But at least eight clubs are against the PBP, underlining the major task of Liverpool, Manchester United and EFL president Rick Parry, the driving forces behind the previously secretive project, to garner support for their sweeping plans to reshape the English football.
As reported yesterday, Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Sheffield United and West Brom would in no way support plans to reduce the size of the division to 18, one of the main proposals. Sportsmail understands that West Ham and Leeds are also against the plans in their current form.
The PBP concept has met with strong objections from a number of top flight clubs.
Most only found out when the story broke on Sunday, much to their frustration and disappointment. Others only heard unconfirmed rumors about the plans last week.
Clubs are due to hold a shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday when the issue is discussed among the 20 as a whole for the first time, with a series of private conversations between the clubs ahead of their virtual league meeting tomorrow.
But many high-profile chiefs believe such is the opposition, as it stands the Premier League will not allow proposals to go to a vote.
Instead, it feels like the revelations about what we’re working on were an attempt to shake things up and, after outlining their wishlist, see what parts those pushing the restructuring can get support for.
The idea of offering the EFL more financial aid is supported.
Indeed, Sportsmail understands that it was suggested during discussions last week on the controversial Premier League pay-per-view service that the profits should go to EFL clubs.
But opposition to giving top clubs additional voting power and a voice in ownership changes is strong, while fears about creating a closed store have spread across the league.
Concerns have also been raised about whether some of the clubs among long-term shareholders have done enough to justify being able to now put the spotlight on the entire division.