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Project Big Picture rejected by Premier League clubs

Project Big Picture has been unanimously rejected by Premier League clubs, with only a rescue package for League One and League Two clubs having been agreed.

Following a virtual meeting on October 14, all 20 Premier League clubs agreed that the Premier League and FA would not move forward with the proposals put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United

The meeting also concluded that any future plans regarding the structure or finances of English football would be planned and agreed upon collectively and with transparency.

A statement from the Premier League said: “All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League or English soccer's national governing body, the Football Association (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.’

The rejection of the proposals might come as a blow to EFL clubs, after the professional body confirmed that the majority of its clubs supported the plans after meetings with chairman Rick Parry.

However, England’s top flight league announced that a rescue package had been agreed to support those clubs in League One and League Two.

“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 UK£50 million on top of the UK£27.2 million solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of UK£77.2 million. 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.”

Despite financial support being handed to England’s tier three and tier four clubs, Championship sides will seemingly go without, which may lead to turmoil for a number of sides, with six clubs having told Sky Sports News that they could go out of business.

Project Big Picture also caused further drama according to FA chairman Greg Clarke, who claimed that a breakaway league had been suggested to threaten and persuade the proposals into the English football system.

Clarke had originally entertained the proposals last spring but walked away “when he principal aim of these discussions became the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs”.

Author: Jake Wilkin