LONDON: Premier League clubs have rejected controversial Project Big Picture plans but agreed a rescue package for third and fourth tier clubs.
Liverpool and Manchester United, along with EFL chairman Rick Parry, had been behind the proposals but had no option but to support the league stance once it became clear that they lacked significant support.
Had the proposals been adopted they would have represented the most significant changes in English football in a generation, 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.”