Like it or not Project Big Picture's plan to change English football cannot be ignored

Liverpool won the Premier League last season and their owners now have big plans to change football. Credit: PA

Publicly the Premier League has been fairly reserved with its language on the proposed shake up of the English football pyramid saying that it “could have a damaging impact on the whole game…”.

Privately, though, the sentiment is less sanguine; in fact, they could barely contain their contempt.

One source, close to those that run the world’s richest league, told me that Project Big Picture (PBP), as it has been labelled, is simply not workable.

It is nothing less than an attempt at a “hostile takeover” of the Premier League. As it’s being led by Manchester United and Liverpool there was also a suggestion that it was a clumsy plot by two American owners, trying to replicate here what works ‘over there’. But it is far more than that. 

Firstly, if this dramatic coup does not succeed, the relationship between the Premier League and the EFL, as long as it is run by chairman Rick Parry is over.

Parry, said one Premier League insider, is suddenly “a man who is difficult to trust.”

Rick Parry. Credit: PA

Parry is braving it out saying when he originally helped to set up the Premier League he was not popular “but the merits (of the new proposals) are enormous.”

The government, in the middle of negotiating a rescue package for England’s lower leagues and a return to football for fans, is incensed.

"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.”

So, what changes does PBP open the doors to and is it what English football needs?

Well there is cash that the EFL desperately wants and it comes in the form of a £250m donation to compensate for the cash flow crisis Covid-19 has created.

But it’s a gift not a loan, as the EFL had previously been offered, so you can see why the lower leagues are going for it.

There is also a guarantee of a more equitable split of the Premier League’s considerable riches which is something all the lower leagues, rather than just the relegated top-flight clubs, will really benefit from. PBP pledges 25% of all future TV revenues to be passed down the pyramid.

There are many significant adjustments, like a reduced Premier League of 18 clubs and the League Cup abolished but, if agreed, the top-flight's big six suddenly call all the shots.

Essentially, they get control over all the League’s significant decisions going forward.

With power centred around those major clubs the prospect of the much-discussed European Super League comes many steps closer.

Much will play out before these controversial proposals are accepted or not, but now they’re out there they can’t be ignored.

Change is coming.