Project Big Picture: Shake-up for English football rejected by Premier League clubs

Credit: PA

Project Big Picture, a proposed shake up of the English football pyramid, has been roundly rejected by Premier League clubs.

All 20 league clubs rejected the proposals "unanimously" instead agreeing to work together on a "strategic plan" to find a new way forward.

Liverpool and Manchester United, along with EFL chairman Rick Parry, had been behind the Project Big Picture (PBP) plans which emerged at the weekend.

The plans suggested some of the most significant changes in English football in a generation, with a major shift in league voting rights proposed - which would have put far greater power in the hands of the top flight’s so-called ‘big six’ clubs.

Manchester United are one of the supporters of Project Big Picture. Credit: PA

But the proposal was rejected at a meeting of clubs on Wednesday.

A League statement read: "Premier League shareholders today unanimously agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football.

"Premier League clubs also agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed by the Premier League, any of its clubs or the Football Association."

A rescue package has also been agreed to help League One and League Two clubs who have suffered financial hits from the Covid crisis.

Harrogate Town's Wembley victory was played in an empty stadium Credit: PA

"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," the statement said.

"This offer will consist of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further £50 million 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."

Fans gathered on the pier head outside the Liver Building after Liverpool won the Premier League.

The clubs acknowledged the sports is "not the same" without fans in stadiums and warned "the football economy is unsustainable without them."

The statement continued: "The Premier League and all our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has earlier described the blueprint as "Project Power Grab" and reiterated that a fan-led review of the game’s governance would have to be brought forward “imminently” if the leagues could not settle their differences.