A new report from The Daily Telegraph has revealed that Liverpool have authored a set of proposals entitled ‘Project Big Picture’ which will reshape English football, with United already giving their support to the planned changes.
In return for bailing out the Football League with a £250million rescue package, the two clubs – who anticipate the support of the rest of the big six – reportedly want to change a host of rules.
Chief among them will be the very makeup of the Premier League, with the ‘Revitalisation’ document proposing that the top-flight be reduced to just 18 teams.
There would still be two automatic promotion places for Championship clubs, but the third, fourth and fifth placed teams would enter a play-off tournament with the side who finishes 16th in the Premier League – something which already happens in Germany.
Both United and Liverpool – and the rest of the big six: Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea – are growing increasingly concerned by the number of games they are being asked to play.
With an expanded Champions League coming in a few years, they want to reduce their domestic workload, shaving off four Premier League matches and also plotting to scrap the League Cup.
As part of the plans, parachute payments for relegated teams would be scrapped with 25% of Premier League revenue being shared across the entire EFL – something the Football League clubs are open to, particularly with the promise of an up-front £250m bail-out package.
Premier League voting would also be changed as part of the plans, with nine ‘long-term shareholder status’ clubs – which is the big six plus Everton, Southampton and West Ham – given more power; the votes of just six of these clubs would be needed to make rule changes, rather than the current 14 out of 20 sides.
The plans could come unstuck over this particular issue, with the 11 Premier League sides who do not qualify as having ‘long-term shareholder status’ expected to push back against the proposals.
Another part of the plans would see the introduction of a ‘fan charter’ whereby away tickets would be capped at £20, with travel subsidised, and a push to allow safe standing at stadiums, while there would also be dramatic changes to the loan system.