By Bariyo Brian Tumuramye
Liverpool and Manchester United are behind the plans to give the English top-flight a major overhaul in its look and the way finances are distributed.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group, with support from United, have produced a working document named ‘Revitalisation’, which is expected to receive backing from the rest of the ‘big six’ in Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs.
The new plans would reportedly see the Premier League drop down to 18 clubs and bring an end of the League Cup and the Community Shield.
On top of that 25 per cent of the Premier League’s annual revenue would go to EFL clubs with £250million paid up-front to see them through the current crisis, with £100million to boost the FA.
Other changes would see the Championship play-offs involve the third from bottom Premier League team included with the teams in third, fourth and fifth from the English second division.
The distribution of Premier League television income would also be altered, including proposals that base part of it on performance over three years in the league.
Ultimately there would be “special status” for the nine longest-serving clubs with the vote of only six of them required to make major changes, which include, “amending rules and regulations, agreeing on contracts, removal of the chief executive and a wide-ranging veto including on club ownership.”
Premier League released statements encouraging the need for discussing the future of the game but felt a wider discussion with more stakeholders was required and that “a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game and we are disappointed to see that Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, has given his on-the-record support.”
The government also condemned the proposals, with a spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport saying: “We are surprised and disappointed that at a time of crisis when we have urged the top tiers of professional football to come together and finalise a deal to help lower league clubs, there appear to be backroom deals being cooked up that would create a closed shop at the very top of the game.
“Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that may undermine them is deeply troubling. Fans must be in front of all our minds, and this shows why our fan led a review of football governance will be so critical.”
There is no doubt that if these plans were to go through, then Chelsea would be one of the clubs to benefit from it since they have been part of the Big Six since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003 and have become one of the elite clubs in European football over the course of that time.
They have been a regular European competition, winning the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League twice, in 2013 and 2019.
The fear for many in the Premier League would be the fact that the plans would create a bigger chasm between the top clubs and the rest of the league.
But there will be a key eye on whether or not there can be a compromise over the plans so that the EFL can be supported financially through a very tough period.
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