Project Big Picture 'highly unlikely' to win support in Premier League

Project Big Picture is ‘highly unlikely’ to win support in the Premier League, insists Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow and says he expects top flight to agree a ‘broader long term plan’

  • Aston Villa’s chief Christian Purslow has poured doubt over Project Big Picture  
  • He says it is ‘highly unlikely’ that the radical proposals will get off the ground
  • Liverpool and Manchester United are behind a huge shake-up of English football
  • Purslow believes the top flight will instead agree to a new ‘long term plan’  

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow says Project Big Picture is ‘highly unlikely’ to gain traction in the Premier League as clubs meet to discuss the proposals for the first time.

Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as EFL chairman Rick Parry, are behind plans for a radical restructure of the Premier League that would bring increased funding for the EFL, reduce the top flight from 20 to 18 clubs and scrap the Carabao Cup and Community Shield.  

Top flight clubs debated the contentious plans on Wednesday morning in an online video conference, with at least eight clubs, including Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Sheffield United and West Brom, stating their opposition.  

Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow says Project Big Picture is unlikely to gain support it needs

 There are plans by Liverpool, Manchester United and Rick Parry to shake up English football

Currently, at least 14 of the Premier League’s 20 clubs need to vote in favour of any major proposals in order for them to be introduced. EFL clubs are also split on the issue, with a meeting on Tuesday involving all 72 clubs ending without a firm agreement.

And speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Purslow stressed that the proposals had a very small chance of getting off the ground due to the amount of clubs currently standing against them.    

‘I don’t think we should give too much credence to this particular plan,’ the former Liverpool chief said. 

‘I think it is highly unlikely that this plan, as it has been described in public, is going to get much traction within the Premier League itself.’

The plans would see certain Premier League clubs given more power with teams reduced to 18 

Manchester United and Liverpool are both behind proposals for a radical shake-up in football

While he didn’t go into specifics, Purslow said he believed top flight clubs will come up with a ‘broader’ alternative plan to provide more funding for struggling EFL clubs.

‘The idea that somehow the Premier League does not already take a hugely important role in funding the whole of the pyramid is fantasy,’ he added.

‘I think a much broader, long-term plan for football is what I would expect to come from the Premier League.

‘I also expect there to be concrete proposals brought forward by the Premier League executive on funding for lower levels of football, that’s what I hope to see happen. 

Sportsmail reported this week how clubs in the Championship have offered their support to Parry over the proposals, while those in the bottom two EFL divisions far more critical. 

Teams in the lower leagues are seeking a bailout from the Premier League as they continue to suffer without vital matchday income, with as many as seven clubs in League One and Two needing extra funding to ensure they can pay all their players this month.

But there are fears that Parry’s involvement in the plans could jeopardise the rescue package they hope to receive in order to stay afloat.

It came as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden slammed Project Big Picture and labelled it as ‘Project Power Grab’. 

‘The concern around this is twofold: One, now is not the time to be doing this. Now is the time, rather than to divide football, to bring it together to solve this problem; But secondly there are bigger concerns, which I share, about it appearing to entrench the position of a small number of clubs as a closed-shop situation.

‘I do think it makes the case, if they are going to go down this line, that there is a real problem around the governance of football, around whether this is working properly, which is why we need to return to a fan-led review.’ 

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