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Project Big Picture – Opinion

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What is Project Big Picture?

 

We are all aware of the perils faced by many EFL clubs at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is something Project Big Picture looked to take advantage off.

The plan was devised by the EFL, with the support of Liverpool and Manchester United. The main selling point was the financial help it would provide the EFL and the women’s game. It also looked at scrapping the EFL Cup and Community Shield, reshaping the leagues and the playoff system.

Controversially, the revamp wanted to give all the decision making power to nine long-standing Premier League teams. It also listed certain ways to help football fans, £20 cap on away tickets, subsided away travel and a minimum of 3,000 away fans at each game. 

 

Money, Money, Money

Despite its many flaws, the project did look to help solve the money issues faced by lower league clubs. 

A short-term financial rescue would have seen £350 million immediately available for the EFL and FA. £250 million would go to the EFL, the vast majority being passed to League One and League Two. Over the long term, parachute payments would be scrapped. This would be swapped for 25% of Premier League revenue being distributed to the EFL. This money would go a long way in securing the safety of many League One and League Two teams. 

Despite the need for money, the EFL rejected an offer from the Premier League of a financial grant which was for Leagues One and Two. Many believe this is because the Championship was overlooked in the agreement. It is understandable why the Championship would be overlooked, many clubs being owned by wealthy people. Though Wycombe would consider their finances more reflective of a League One side rather than a Championship club. It would thus be unfair to miss out some Championship teams. Maybe this should be done based on owners wealth rather than league status.

 

The Power 

Although the money incentive is beneficial for the EFL, the cynic inside me feels those struggling clubs are been taken advantage off.

The project looked to give decision making powers in the Premier League to the nine long standing Premier League clubs. These clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Southampton, Tottenham and West Ham.

This feels harsh on the other Premier League clubs who have battled hard to get into the Prem. They would end up seeing their own finances taken into the hands of the nine clubs.

 

Other Options

Despite having the backing of Liverpool and Manchester United, all 20 Premier League clubs voted against the project. 

Gary Neville, who is part-owner of Salford City, has been vocal in his backing of the ‘Save the Beautiful Game’ report. The report suggests creating a new regulatory body that is independent of the current structure. As well as setting up a new licencing system for the professional game. The report is critical of the FA. Stating the organisation lacks credibility, is ineffective, not independent and lacks diversity.

 

My Opinion

Many EFL clubs need money, fast. Without some form of financial backing, many clubs will sadly follow the same demise as Bury. The funds are there, as these plans show. It feels as if many clubs survival are being used as a tool to give more powers to the clubs at the top.

Premier League clubs spent £1.24billion this summer transfer market, all this whilst cutting non-player roles due to financial decline during COVID-19. Arsenal managed to spend £45 million on a new signing but had to cut their mascot from the wage bill due to financial issues. Luckily Ozil provided a long overdue assist and saved Gunnersaurus’ job.

If the ‘big 6’ Premier League clubs gave each League One and League Two club £1 million it would be £48 million out of their pockets but £6 million to each club. £6 million that could save a club until fans return to grounds. You might say, ‘but the Premier League clubs need their money as well’, this is hard to take when Chelsea spent £200+ million on players and each club are owned by multi-millionaires.

I hope we see some form of action before it is too late.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Opinion: Project Big Picture.’ What did you make of Project big picture? What can be done to help the EFL and its lower league clubs during the pandemic? Let us know!

 

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Josh is a recent MA Sports Journalism graduate and a BA (hons) Sports Studies graduate. He is passionate about football, Sheffield Wednesday, Liam Gallagher and writing about himself in 3rd person. Josh is contactable via email at stedman890@gmail.com

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