Last weekend, the chairman of the English Football League (EFL) Rick Parry joined forces with two Premier League giants, Manchester United and Liverpool, to put forward a subversive proposal aimed at rebuilding the country's football development system. Immediately England football fell into a civil war.
The document, leaked by the media and titled "Project Big Picture", suggests that the number of participating clubs in the top league should be reduced from 20 to 18, the Community Shield and the League Cup should be abolished, and the Premier League play-offs should be reformed , And revoke the system of equal voting rights for all clubs in the top league. The Premier League warned that this radical proposal may have a devastating effect on football matches throughout England.
该文件被媒体泄露，标题为“ Project Big Picture”，建议将顶级联赛中参与俱乐部的数量从20个减少到18个，取消社区盾和联赛杯，以及英超联赛改革应取消，并撤销顶级联赛中所有俱乐部的平等投票权制度。英超联赛警告说，这一激进的提议可能会对整个英格兰的足球比赛产生毁灭性影响。
On the other hand, this proposal, which Parry called the "right way forward", also stated that it will immediately provide the EFL with 250 million pounds of assistance to make up for the club’s match-day income and provide 1,000 for the Women’s Super League and Champions League Ten thousand pounds to provide 55 million pounds to the FA’s national league and grassroots events, and 55 million pounds to make up for the operating losses of the tournament management agency.
However, such an idea immediately caused dissatisfaction with the Premier League and the British government, who have been negotiating with the EFL in recent weeks to determine a specific assistance plan. The British Department of Culture, Media and Sports also severely criticized this proposal. They were surprised and disappointed to learn that the two parties had reached the agreement in private.
It is reported that Manchester United's Glazer family, Liverpool boss John Henry and major shareholder Mike Gordon all communicated with Parry. This kind of communication has even been carried out between all parties for 3 years. Parry said on Sunday that Chelsea sometimes participate in the exchange. Liverpool and Manchester United have notified several other clubs in the Premier League’s top six of this proposal in the middle of last week, and when the time came last Sunday, the "Daily Telegraph" revealed this sensational plan.
According to the current system, under the one-vote-per-club system, any restructuring of the Premier League requires at least 14 votes to take place. However, what makes many Premier League clubs feel even more annoyed is that Parry's proposal aims to encourage the giant clubs to withdraw from the Premier League and join the EFL, thus entering a system that prevents multiple clubs from having voting rights.
At an emergency press conference held last Sunday, Parry kept silent on this topic, while several sources admitted frankly that in a special period, the departure of several top clubs from the Premier League is tantamount to a "nuclear weapon option." . Due to contractual obligations, the separation of clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United from the Premier League will lead to legal actions by other Premier League clubs. Neither club was prepared to comment last week.
According to the provisions of B7 in the English Premier League Manual, if any club intends to remove the league membership before the start of the new season, they can notify the secretary of the Premier League in writing before December 31 of the previous season. Several sources close to the Premier League’s top six said that they did not threaten to leave the league at all.
The core of the problem is that the top six in the Premier League believe that they should have more power, because in their opinion, most of the income and interest in the English football are created by them. The essential obstacle lies in the other 14 clubs and persuading them to vote on matters that seem to be against their own interests.
Allegedly, other clubs outside of the Premier League’s top six considered this to be a malicious takeover, rather than a constructive proposal, because the content clearly wanted to exclude them. A source close to the top six in the Premier League said that such issues should be regarded as a kind of "coup or revolution." For the opponents, their main concern is that the concentration of voting rights in the hands of certain clubs will abandon the so-called solidarity promise proposed in the proposal.
But this is not the only objection. A source said that on Sunday night, the Premier League, Premier League clubs, EFL and the government were in a state of "nuclear warfare warning", and the women's football issue involved in the proposal was also a question mark. Let us interpret this proposal below.
On Sunday morning British time, the "Daily Telegraph" published an 18-page document that looked forward to the new vision of English football.
Today's English football is suffering from the economic crisis brought about by the new crown epidemic. Low-level league clubs are plagued by problems such as lack of match day income and sharp decline in sponsorship income, and are even on the verge of bankruptcy. The Premier League, the EFL and the British government have been negotiating for several months.
On the surface, the grand plan contains several exciting proposals.
For each club, the revenue of the Premier League will increase by 15.5 million pounds, the Premier League will be 3.5 million pounds, and the Premier League will be 2.3 million pounds. Although it will be a historic move to transfer such a large income share to the EFL, it does not guarantee that the relevant income will be as rich as it is now, because the proposal also pointed out that the Premier League will be transformed into 18 participating balls. Team, this means that the number of games will be reduced, and the related income will also decrease.
For fans, the maximum ticket price for away team fans will be limited to 20 pounds. Fans who accompany the team to the away stadium will also receive transportation subsidies. At the same time, the proposal also states that further measures will be made on the opening of stadium seats explore.
Of course, if you follow the content of this proposal, the Premier League top six will also get rich returns. The Community Shield and League Cup events, which are usually regarded as the burden of the rich clubs, will be cancelled. In addition, under the competition system of the 18 participating clubs, the number of league matches for each team will also be reduced from 38 to 34. Under the revised Premier League relegation system proposed in the proposal, the last two clubs will be directly relegated, the champions and runners-up of the Premier League will be promoted directly, and the third-to-last team in the Premier League will be ranked third in the Premier League. -The 5th place team will play in the play-offs and finally compete for the last Premier League seat.
On Sunday, Parry stated that if the proposal is passed, there will be an independent season before the start of the 2022-23 season. There will be 4 relegated teams in the Premier League and only 2 upgrades in the Premier League team. He explained: "The teams in the Premier League and the Premier League will complete this exchange."
According to the current situation, in addition to the top six in the Premier League, the other three clubs are Southampton, West Ham United and Everton.
For Premier League clubs, they have more benefits. For example, Premier League clubs can rent out 15 players at a time, of which 4 players can be rented to the same club at the same time. If there is a club change of coaches, Then they can recall players immediately. Each club can also sell the exclusive broadcast rights of its 8 league games to international broadcasters every season.
Liverpool and Manchester United have officially notified Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City in the top six last Thursday, and intend to continue the relevant discussions over the weekend.
However, although the news angered the Premier League clubs and the British government, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday night that the initiators of the proposal refused to make concessions and still hope to advance the plan.
On the side of the proposal is EFL Chairman Parry, who had served as the CEO of the Premier League as early as 1995. The main idea is to bundle the TV rights of the Premier League and the EFL, and then distribute 25% of the income to the EFL. Parry put forward this concept in an interview before winning the EFL race in 2019, and it was also supported by Burton’s CEO Jace Mossi.
Although EFL and FA Chairman Greg Clark have expressed their reluctance to have a dialogue on this issue at different times, the plan was actually promoted by Glazer and Henry. Somewhat curiously, the FA did not comment on Sunday, but from the statement of the Premier League at that time, it implies that the EFL and the FA are cooperating in private (see the news later. It is not always involved).
Some people may be surprised by this, but sources close to Henry and Glazer believe that the two have seen the beauty of the English football pyramid, and they often talk about the responsibility of protecting low-level league clubs in the discussion. A person familiar with the matter said that Woodward often "sided with the angels" and he was also unanimously keen to promote this proposal. I believe critics will definitely mention the history of the Glazer family's use of leveraged transactions to acquire Manchester United to alienate the relationship with the fans.
In addition, EFL Chairman Parry and the 72 clubs of the Champions League, League One and League Two will support this proposal. It is reported that most of the League One and League Two clubs have seen the benefits from this proposal. They can not only receive 250 million pounds of rescue funds in the short term, but also enjoy a fairer TV dividend in the long run.
A Premier League executive explained: "The position of the EFL is very bad. Now there is a problem and everything can't continue. Who can give a solution? No one, only Manchester United and Liverpool. There are inherent differences on almost everything within the EFL, such as the question of whether the schedule should be fully resumed after the epidemic restarts or the play-offs should be directly played. We cannot agree. We will never make any progress. Time is not ours. Well, if this continues, the club will go bankrupt.
"So yes, we have to be at the mercy of these rich people. Our own destiny is in their hands, but it is a good thing that someone can take action, because everything before us is too limited.
"Is it a disaster for the top six in the Premier League to have more power? Doesn't every industry have a leader? This proposal will make the lower-level league clubs more stable, and it will also make it possible to have a lower-level league club. More meaningful. Such a move can save many clubs that are going bankrupt.
"The government will not bail out us for a long time. They are clearly aware that they are supporting an illusion in an industry that has a lot of money and spends a lot of money on players.
For this proposal, Fleetwood boss Andy Peely said it was "an excellent proposal to pull the EFL club out of the forgotten position."
Others warn that other options may be much worse. Barnsley co-chairman Paul Conway said in an interview: "The Grand Plan will be very wise to allocate more media revenue to the EFL, and hopes to control the uncontrolled spending that puts the entire EFL at risk.
"If the relatively small Premier League clubs do not accept the grand plan, then it is completely conceivable that the larger clubs will push other European giants clubs to start the European war on weekends, resulting in 60-80 Premier League matches being forced Change to mid-week, and this will damage the interests of these smaller Premier League clubs. The weekend is usually the most profitable match day.
"These larger clubs hope to develop their global brands through ambitious plans or other alternatives. Audiences all over the world definitely prefer to watch Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich rather than the contest between Liverpool and Burnley."
Parry also said last Sunday that many clubs in the EFL support him, including some clubs in the Premier League that might have been skeptical because of the reduction in Premier League seats.
This is the place to be interesting. If the top six in the Premier League promote this proposal in a conventional way, they need to win votes from 14 of the 20 clubs. But why do these clubs vote for it? Many clubs are cautious at the beginning of the season. Their primary concern is whether they can stay in the top league. And reducing the number of participating clubs to 18 will obviously make their goal relatively difficult to achieve.
In addition, some people worry that clubs that are relegated from the Premier League will not receive parachute subsidies, and the change in voting rights in the Premier League also sounded the alarm for this change. Today, changes to the rules of the Premier League require more than 14 votes, and each club has the same voting rights. However, the proposals of Manchester United and Liverpool stated that only the nine clubs with the longest stay in the Premier League have the right to vote. This involves issues such as TV distribution dividends, but it also involves issues on the court, such as the recently controversial five-person substitution system. The rule was originally announced when the league was suspended last season. It was adopted later, but it was cancelled in the new season. This phenomenon has caused some clubs to worry about it, and they think it will be an act of seizing power.
Parry also admitted that he has not communicated with broadcasters. He said: "The Premier League can submit proposals at any time or resolve short-term funding issues in a faster way. But for whatever reason, they have not Do it. Am I ashamed of supporting a bold plan? No. They talk about the need for cooperation. How long will it take for the short-term rescue plan to start? A few months. The government has said before that they need it. Let the Premier League start in May."
However, the Premier League has contacted the EFL during the suspension period and told them that they need to complete the season schedule before arranging a bailout policy. This is because if the Premier League returns 750 million pounds to TV broadcasters, then they themselves will face the possibility of collapse.
Parry was indeed asked on Sunday whether he would invite the top six Premier League to withdraw from the Premier League and form another league under the EFL system, but he refused to answer this question.
It is said that the Premier League CEO Richard Master has been working hard to reach a consensus on the rescue issue, but he hopes that the agreement reached will protect all the Premier League clubs, rather than give too much power to some clubs. . The Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman and CEO Master were both excluded from the proposal, which aroused the anger of several clubs.
据说，英超联赛首席执行官理查德·马斯特（Richard Master）一直在努力就救援问题达成共识，但他希望达成的协议将保护所有英超联赛俱乐部，而不是给某些俱乐部过多的权力。 。提议将英超联赛主席加里·霍夫曼（Gary Hoffman）和首席执行官马斯特（Master）排除在外，这激起了几家俱乐部的愤怒。
There are also concerns that the 34-round league schedule set on weekends mentioned in the proposal may open a door for the UEFA Champions League, because Juventus boss Agnelli has proposed that the UEFA Champions League matches be held on weekends, and some Premier League clubs Executives are also worried that the FA Cup will be transferred to midweek. Parry opposed this view and said that the cancellation of the League Cup would reshape the charm of the FA Cup, a traditional cup of English football. People familiar with the proposal also said that the FA Cup will still be used as a weekend event.
You can clearly see the anger of stakeholders. The Premier League previously issued a strong statement, stating that relevant discussions should be conducted through appropriate channels, and certain suggestions may have a devastating impact on the game. The Premier League also stated that they were disappointed with the public support of EFL Chairman Parry.
A source from a club in the Premier League expressed frustration with the developments. Another executive of the Premier League club was very angry after seeing the news on the Internet. They said: "No one has ever told us about this kind of thing. That's why it's so shameful. The old stuff is still the same. The big clubs are still studying how to retain good money and power. Other clubs will definitely be ruthless. To punish Woodward."
Another source from the Premier League stated that this is another attempt by the Premier League Six to create space for the European Championship in the calendar, while other sources said,
At the same time, not all the English Championship clubs are actually as united as Parry said.
Another Premier League club CEO added: "I will be open when evaluating the proposal. But obviously the middle and lower reaches of the Premier League clubs will be absolute losers. This proposal is a bit too self-righteous."
Obviously, a battle of public opinion has started, and the government has made very clear opposition.
A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sports previously stated: “We are surprised and disappointed. When we called on all levels of professional football leagues to work together and finalize agreements to help lower-level league clubs during the crisis, the secrets were brewing behind the scenes. This will give the top league an incomplete open system limited to some clubs."
It has also been noted that the proposals concerning women's football in this proposal lack sufficient details. The document stated that a working group will be established to develop and establish a new independent league for the development of English women's professional football, and all parties in this league are not part of the Premier League or the FA. This may open the door for the involvement of external investors and sponsors, but in the context of the need for income protection in the event, this seems a high-risk move. However, the proposal does mention that it will provide 10 million pounds of rescue funds for the Women's Super League and the Champions League, and provide an annual funding of 50 million pounds for these two leagues, as well as the Women's Football Cup and Women's Grassroots Games.
It is said that the top six of the Premier League have been communicating through video and text last Sunday, but there was no sign of immediate concession.
The FA Chairman Clark has also been aware of related issues. The FA also has a pivotal issue in the Premier League, and it has the right to veto or change the rules for promotion and demotion. Clark also expressed a clear position. He said that in the face of attempts to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs and threaten to leave the Premier League, he will not continue to participate in relevant discussions and call on the Premier League clubs to reach a consensus. And emphasized
Both the Premier League and the FA also hope to find a solution, so that the governing bodies and participating clubs have no objections, but it seems that in the context of the crisis in the low-level leagues, they will not have much time left.