Radical plans for the shake-up of English football have polarised opinion among governing bodies, clubs, fans and beyond.

Manchester United and Liverpool are among the driving forces behind Project Big Picture, which would see the Premier League cut to 18 teams and greater power given to the so-called big six, while EFL clubs would benefit financially.

Here, we look at what has been said about the proposals.

EFL chairman Rick Parry:

“It is two of our great clubs showing leadership when it is needed, exercising great responsibility, and from the EFL point of view it is making our clubs sustainable and bridging the gap between the top of the Championship and the bottom of the Premier League. The principal part of the story is the biggest reset since the formation of the Premier League which, all being well, will set up the pyramid for the next 25 years. The proposal is designed for the greater good of English football.”

Premier League:

“Football has many stakeholders, therefore this work should be carried out through the proper channels enabling all clubs and stakeholders the opportunity to contribute. In the Premier League’s view, a number of the individual proposals in the plan…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.”

Prime Minister’s official spokesman:

“It’s clear that this proposal does not command support throughout the Premier League. It is exactly this type of backroom dealing that undermines trust in football governance. In terms of support for EFL clubs, we have been given assurances by both the Premier League and the EFL that they have no intention to let any club go bust due to Covid and we know that they have the means to prevent this from happening within their existing mechanisms. We would strongly urge the Premier League and the EFL to continue to work constructively to come up with a deal that provides a comprehensive package of scores for the whole football family.”

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

“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.”

Football Supporters’ Association:

“Once again it appears that big decisions in football are apparently being stitched up behind our backs by billionaire club owners who continue to treat football as their personal fiefdom. Football is far more than a business to be carved up; it is part of our communities and our heritage, and football fans are its lifeblood. As football’s most important stakeholders, it is crucial that fans are consulted and involved in the game’s decision-making.”

Stoke joint chairman John Coates:

“We have long believed that the major long-term issue facing English football is the cliff edge between the Premier League and Championship finances and we are in support of developing any discussions where this is firmly on the agenda.”

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince:

“This has got some questionable elements – it’s not perfect but they might just be negotiating points. The bit I’m thinking of is the proposal for six big clubs in the Premier League to dominate the voting. If that was done as a simple majority, that would be an improvement on where we are today where it takes 14 out of 20 to pass any rule change. I think that is the part that people are railing against as far as I can see.”

Southend chairman Ron Martin:

“It appears to me that whilst the principles are agreed between some parties, the detail still needs to be understood and accepted by others. Nevertheless, from what we do know it does appear to represent a fairer and sustainable way forward for the football family.”


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