STEVE GIBSON: We must accept Big Picture power shift to save EFL clubs

STEVE GIBSON: We must accept Project Big Picture power shift to save EFL clubs from oblivion… the £250m bailout is absolutely ESSENTIAL

  • The £250m bailout from the Premier League is needed in the short-term
  • The 25 per cent redistribution of top-tier revenue to the EFL is important too
  • The cash incoming for sustainability means Project Big Picture has my support 
  • Certainly, all of the Championship clubs I’ve spoken to so far are behind it 

The proposals outlined in Project Big Picture are too important to dismiss – it has my support and I have spoken to EFL chairman Rick Parry to tell him so.

The £250million bailout is absolutely essential in the short-term and, going forward, so is the 25 per cent redistribution of Premier League revenue.

It guarantees the sustainability of football outside the Premier League, providing there is discipline put into it through regulation, the biggest one being a hard wage cap in the EFL.

The proposals outlined in Project Big Picture have my support, they’re too important to dismiss

When I first saw the document I was excited by it. It is self-interest, of course. Is it better for my club? Yes. But certainly all of the Championship clubs I’ve spoken to are behind it. As for those in League One and Two, it would be huge. It would save a lot of them.

I understand it comes at a cost for some Premier League clubs. I, too, am uneasy about the movement and concentration of power.

But the truth is that those top six clubs already have significantly more influence than the rest. If you look at where football revenue is generated in this country, it is because of the overseas love affair with the Premier League. In particular, those big six clubs.

So nothing is perfect. Would you ordinarily wish that power shift to be the case? Probably not. But sometimes you have to give something up.

Overall, the document is better for the future of football. Because without this, or another bailout, I see a domino effect. One club will go bust and then another and another. And these clubs are so important to the community. I could not imagine the town of Middlesbrough without its football club.

I could not imagine Middlesbrough without its football club and the Riverside Stadium

What we have seen in this document is the willingness of some clubs to say, ‘Yes, there is a problem in football, let’s try to address it’.

Any document as complex as this – saving the EFL and the pyramid system – it will be immensely difficult to get everyone on side. Many will question the spirit of it.

But at least we have people who are brave enough to come up with something, knowing they’re going to get silly politicians condemning it, even though, in the main, this is a very good attempt to make football sustainable. Football should embrace the majority of its proposals.

For Rick Parry, to come in as chairman of the EFL at this time, it really is a poisoned chalice. I think he’s working very hard for the good of the game. He is trying to find a way through a mess that is not of his making. Outside of politics, the weight of responsibility on him right now is as big as it can get.

It’s a time to support each other and not be in the background sniping away. Rick Parry has a job where everyone thinks they can do better. I promise you, they can’t.

EFL chairman Rick Parry has a job where everyone thinks they can do better – they can’t

It’s been said that clubs at the top of the Championship with ambition of promotion may be against this, but I disagree.

A lot of Championship clubs at the moment are completely dependent on owners. The amount of money they are putting in to compete against those clubs who come down with parachute payments, it is simply not sustainable. So removing parachute payments makes for better competition.

The wage cap is also absolutely necessary to assist these proposals. You only need one rogue owner to come in and start throwing money around and it distorts the market. We do not want the redistributed revenue simply disappearing, Alan Sugar’s old prune juice analogy – in one end and out the other.

We need to use it to build the experience for the supporters, better stadiums, academies, more involvement in the community. The proposals in Project Big Picture allow this to an extent that, right now, we can only dream about.

Steve Gibson was talking to Craig Hope 

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