The Premier League has criticised the moves by Liverpool and Manchester United, who are planning to gain more control over decision-making with proposals to reduce the size of the English top-flight to 18 teams. The two English giants, along with Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City have proposed 'Project Big Picture', which would also see tournaments including the League Cup and Community Shield scrapped. On Sunday, these plans were publicly announced and backed by the chairman of the English Football League, Rick Parry, who runs the competition featuring the 72 professional teams below the Premier League.
According to reports from The Telegraph, the Premier League 'Big Six' (Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham Hotspur) held a meeting on Thursday to discuss an opportunity to provide greater financial stability to teams in the lower divisions. It is believed that the 'Big Six', along with EFL chairman Rick Parry, have planned and backed Project Big Picture, which would see the top tier reduced from 20 to 18 clubs.
However, the Premier League is now infuriated with the emergence of the secret plans for a radical restructure of the top division that was initially planned by Liverpool owner John Henry and his Manchester United counterpart, Joel Glazer.
Reports claim that the Premier League 'Big Six' have planned for a £250 million coronavirus rescue package which would be made available to the EFL to help them through the ongoing pandemic. There are also plans for a one-time £100 million payment to the English Football Association (FA) in order to help them combat the losses incurred due to the pandemic. Project Big Picture could also see the League Cup and Community Shield scrapped.
It is believed that changes to the competition would only require approval from six of the nine longest-serving clubs rather than the currently required 14 of 20 Premier League teams.
With Project Big Picture, the Premier League 'Big Six' would also receive significant power to make further changes in the future. EFL Chief Rick Parry has come under fire for supporting Project Big Picture. On Sunday, a statement from the Premier League read: "Several 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"