PL clubs reject Project Big Picture, L1 & L2 bailout agreed

Premier League clubs have rejected Project Big Picture but have agreed to create an emergency financial package for clubs in League One and League Two.

The decision to create an emergency bailout fund for the EFL was taken during a meeting of all 20 top-fight clubs on Wednesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, 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 The FA.

‘Project Big Picture’ proposals

  • Premier League reduced to 18 clubs
  • No EFL Cup or Community Shield
  • Special status for nine longest serving clubs – ‘Big Six’, Everton, West Ham, Southampton
  • Only six of the nine longest-serving clubs need to vote for major change
  • £250m immediate compensation for EFL
  • Figure also represents coronavirus financial bail-out
  • Club who finishes 16th in Premier League to replace sixth-placed Championship club in EFL play-offs
  • Premier League to commit 25 per cent of future revenue to EFL

“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.

“Clubs will work collaboratively, in an open and transparent process, focusing on competition structure, calendar, governance and financial sustainability.

“This project has the full support of The FA and will include engagement with all relevant stakeholders including fans, Government and, of course, the EFL.”

On the EFL bailout, the Premier League said it “aims to ensure that League One and League Two clubs will not go out of business”.

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Culture secretary Oliver Dowden revealed he was sceptical about Project Big Picture but believes the problems within football can be resolved by those within the game itself.

It added: “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 £50m 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.”

Ahead of the meeting, a Premier League club owner told Sky Sports News only six top-flight teams are in favour of the proposals.

“We are 100 per cent against the plans,” he said. “If there was a vote now I would be surprised if more than six supported it. I can guarantee you the majority of club owners are against it.”

The EFL, however, said the majority of its clubs overwhelmingly supported Project Big Picture plans following meetings with chairman Rick Parry.

Six EFL clubs have told Sky Sports News they could go out of business by the end of the season without fans and without a financial bailout.

More to follow…

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