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Project Big Picture not a power grab by the big six, claims EFL boss Rick Parry

Rick Parry File Photo
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

EFL chairman Rick Parry has insisted Liverpool, Manchester United and the rest of the Premier League’s so-called big six are not attempting to enrich themselves through Project Big Picture.

Parry and the north-west giants are behind a plan which would bring about the most significant changes in English football for a generation, and which has already drawn strong condemnation from the Government and the Premier League.

The EFL would immediately benefit to the tune of £250million in a rescue package to clubs hit badly by the loss of matchday revenue, while the plan also sets out that they would receive 25 per cent of net media revenues in the future.

But the plan also concentrates power in the hands of a smaller number of clubs and removes the ‘one club, one vote’ ethos which has underpinned the Premier League since its formation.

Asked whether Liverpool and Manchester United were simply in it to make more money and exert greater influence, Parry told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “No, they’re not, they’re giving a lot of money to us. Why would they be giving 25 per cent of the TV revenues to us if all they were trying to do was grab power?

“They care about the pyramid. This will come out, the truth will come out, their passion for the pyramid will come out.

“Let’s not get hung up on process and ‘he said, she said’, this is a really good plan for the pyramid and let’s make it happen.”

Liverpool owner John W Henry is a proponent of the new plan

Liverpool owner John W Henry is a proponent of the new plan (Mike Egerton/PA)

The Premier League said in a statement that the proposals would have a “damaging impact on the whole game”, with sources within the league understood to view the plans as tantamount to a hostile takeover.

It is also understood it disputes Parry’s claim that the big six would not benefit financially from the proposed changes.

Currently, the team finishing top of the Premier League earns 1.7 times the amount of the club finishing bottom, but it is understood the Premier League believes the model proposed under Project Big Picture would mean the team at the top earns four times more than the bottom club.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warned on Monday morning that the two competitions needed to work together or the Government would have no choice but to intervene.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has warned the Government could intervene in the row between the Premier League and the EFL

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has warned the Government could intervene in the row between the Premier League and the EFL (Handout/DCMS)

“If we keep having these backroom deals and all these other things going on we will have to look again at the underlying governance of football.

“We promised in the (general election) manifesto a fan-led review and I must say the events I have seen the past few weeks have made this seem more urgent again.

“Unless the clubs and the Premier League and the EFL can get together urgently in order to support the game through this difficult period of time it does raise genuine questions about the governance of the sport.”

The Football Association has yet to comment on the proposals, which include an initial £100million to be given to them to cover revenues lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the EFL and Premier League clubs contacted by the PA news agency on Sunday and Monday have declined to comment until more of the details within the plan are clear.

Salford co-owner and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville said on Monday “there is too much good in this plan to dismiss it”.

“There are parts of the proposal that require negotiation,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Let’s get round the table please PL/EFL/FA/FSF. If it suits 9 PL clubs and maybe 72 EFL clubs then let’s work with the other 11.”