MANCHESTER – Liverpool and Manchester United are backing a plan to radically change the Premier League’s structure, giving more power to the big clubs, reducing it to 18 teams and scrapping the League Cup, the Telegraph reported on Sunday.
The plan would see the Premier League commit to providing 25% of the league’s revenue to Football League (EFL) clubs and also a £250 million ($326.15 million) package to help with the immediate impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
The newspaper said that the plans had been put together in a document called “Revitalisation” produced by Liverpool’s American owners Fenway Sports Group, with support from United’s Florida-based owners the Glazer family.
A source with knowledge of the discussions and the document confirmed to Reuters that the report was accurate. The Premier League, Manchester United and Liverpool did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The proposal is for 8.5% of annual net league revenue to go on “good causes” including the Football Association.
The 25% of remaining Premier League and Football League revenue would go to EFL clubs. This would replace the current system of ‘parachute payments’ to clubs relegated from the Premier League.
The plan does not, however, call for the top six to be given a greater share of television revenue.
The plan has the public backing of EFL chairman Rick Parry, the former Liverpool chief executive, who has expressed concern about the state of EFL club’s finances.
“What do we do? Leave it exactly as it is and allow the smaller clubs to wither? Or do we do something about it? And you can’t do something about it without something changing. And the view of our clubs is if the (big) six get some benefits but the 72 also do, we are up for it,” he told The Telegraph.
The proposal is sure to prompt a lively debate within the Premier League, with the change to the ‘one club, one vote’ system, in place since the league was formed, as a breakaway from the Football League, in 1992.
The plan calls for the nine clubs with the longest continued presence in the league, which includes the ‘big six’ to be given “long-term share-holder” status and the ability to make changes with the support of just six of the nine.
As well as reducing in size from 20 clubs to 18, there would also be a change to the promotion and relegation exchange with the second-tier Championship.
The bottom two clubs would be automatically relegated from the Premier League and replaced with the top two from the Championship.
The 16th place Premier League club would have to play in a playoff with the Championship’s third, fourth and fifth placed teams.
The plan would need the support of 14 of the Premier League’s 20 clubs to be approved.