Project Big Picture - Premier League overhaul

World exclusive: Man Utd and Liverpool driving ‘Project Big Picture’ - football’s biggest shake-up in a generation


The proposals include:

  • £250 million immediately to the EFL to compensate its clubs for lost matchday revenue, deducted from future television revenue earnings and financed by a loan taken out by the Premier League
  • Special status for the nine longest serving clubs – and the vote of only six of those “long-term shareholders” required to make major changes, including amending rules and regulations, agreeing contracts, removal of the chief executive, and a wide-ranging veto including on club ownership
  • Premier League to go to 18 clubs from 20
  • £100 million one-off gift to the FA to cover its coronavirus losses, the non-league game, the women’s game, the grassroots
  • 8.5 per cent of annual net Premier League revenue to go on operating costs and “good causes” including the FA
  • From the remainder, 25 per cent of all combined Premier League and Football League revenues to go to the EFL clubs
  • Six per cent of Premier League gross revenues to pay for stadium improvements across the top four divisions, calculated at £100 per seat
  • New rules for the distribution of Premier League television income, overseas and domestic, including proposals that base one portion on performance over three years in the league
  • The abolition of the League Cup and the Community Shield
  • 24 clubs each in the Championship, League One and League Two reducing the professional game overall from 92 clubs to 90
  • A women’s professional league independent of the Premier League or the FA
  • Two sides automatically relegated from the Premier League every season and the top two Championship teams promoted. The 16th place Premier League club in a play-off tournament with the Championship’s third, fourth and fifth placed teams.
  • Financial fair play regulations in line with Uefa, and full access for Premier League executive to club accounts
  • A fan charter including capping of away tickets at £20, away travel subsidised, a focus on a return to safe standing, a minimum away allocation of eight per cent capacity
  • Later Premier League start in August to give greater scope for pre-season friendlies, and requirement for all clubs to compete once every five years in a summer Premier League tournament
  • Huge changes to loan system allowing clubs to have 15 players out on loan domestically at any one time and up to four at a single club in England

Wow thats pretty out there but is most certainly needed.

Ironically City were the other day trying to abolish the rules stopping B teams playing in the lower divisions. I think they will be against this.

Project Big Picture: The key proposals of Premier League overhaul revealed

Full breakdown of how new proposals will shape finances, infrastructure and governance

Rescue Fund

  • An immediate rescue fund of £350,000,000 to the English Football League and Football Association for lost revenues of 2019/20 and 2020/21…

For the EFL:

  • £50,000,000 to cover 2019/20 EFL matchday losses;

  • Up to £200,000,000 available to cover 2020/21 EFL matchday losses;

  • Money will be advanced to the EFL from increased future revenues.

For the FA:

  • £100,000,000 in grants, made up of £55,000,000 to cover operational losses, £25,000,000 for clubs below the EFL, £10,000,000 for the Women’s Super League and Championship, £10,000,000 for grassroots

  • Funds to be made available by the Premier League through loans guaranteed by the clubs.

Infrastructure Plan

  • Infrastructure funding of 6% of Premier League gross revenues to be distributed annually to the top four divisions.

  • Each club will receive £100 per seat annually.

  • Infrastructure funding can only be used for stadia and fan experiences.

Fan Charter

  • A cap of £20 on Premier League away ticketing (adjusted every 3 years for inflation)

  • Subsidised Premier League away travel

  • Safe-standing sections at the discretion of each club, subject to government permission.

  • Away sections must provide at least 3,000 or 8% of capacity, whichever is higher.

Annual Good Causes

  • An increase of 66% in annual contributions to good causes in England.

  • A total of 5% of Premier League gross income to be contributed annually to good causes and grassroots football, to include focus on combatting racism and discrimination.

Redistribution of Media & Sponsorship Revenues (three possible options)

  • Option A: 50% equal, 25% current-year merit, 25% previous 3-year merit

A greater emphasis will be placed on merit in both the Premier League and the Championship with half of payments reflecting positions over the past four years.

  • Option B: Current Premier League distribution scheme (50% equal, 25% by merit and 25% by facility fees) but newly promoted clubs must holdback £25m of first two years in the Premier League to mitigate risk of relegation.

  • Option C: Current Premier League distribution scheme, but newly promoted clubs receive 25% of their allocated Facility Fees for first 3 years in league.

For all above options:

  • Excluding parachute payments and including new infrastructure payments, solidarity from the Premier League to the English Football League would increase from 4% to 25%.

  • Premier League and English Football League domestic and international media rights will be collectively sold by the Premier League.

  • Compensation payments to The EFL and FA, infrastructure monies and related borrowings are deducted prior to determination of distributable revenues.

Pyramid structure

  • The Premier League, originally formed to house 18 clubs,would be reduced from 20 to 18 clubs.

  • This would free up the calendar and, with fewer teams and an end to parachute payments, provide additional resources to the EFL.

  • Reduction from 38 to 34 rounds of matches will also aid the national team.

  • Championships, League One and League Two to all be made up of 24 clubs

Promotion and relegation

  • Premier League relegation. At least 2 clubs automatically relegated annually

  • Championship promotion: 1st and 2nd automatically promoted.

  • Club finishing 16th in the Premier League joins four team Championship play-off tournament with teams who finish 3rd, 4th and 5th. Semi-finals would be 16th place PL team vs 5th place Championships team nad 3rd place Championship team against 4th place Championship team.

  • Championship relegation – 3 clubs

  • Leagues One and Two: promotion of 3 clubs. Relegation of 4 clubs

Club media

  • All Premier League clubs have the exclusive rights to sell eight live matches a season directly to fans via their own digital platforms in all international territories.

  • All Premier League and Championship clubs allowed to show limited in-match highlights on their own digital platforms.

  • No more than 27 games per club will be shown live in UK per season

  • Saturday 3pm broadcast blackouts remain to help protect EFL attendance

Other competitions

  • League Cup and Community Shield discontinued;

  • Establishment of a new independent league for the Women’s professional game, not to be owned by the Premier League or The Football Association;

  • FA Cup replays retained but there will be no replays in the winter break;

  • Premier League begins later in August and pre-season friendlies extended;

  • No more than two weeks between the end of the Premier League and the Champions League final;

  • Premier League clubs must participate at least once every five years in the Premier League summer tournament.

Other structural changes

  • Elite Player Performance Plan funding is included in the revenue received by EFL clubs;

  • Clubs in League One and below are no longer required to have an academy;

  • Clubs permitted to have up to 15 players out on loan domestically at any time, including up to four in a single English club. Introduction of one month loans for players under 23, an ability to recall loanees in the event of managerial change, incentivise loanee clubs through payments based on future performance or sale of loaned players;

  • Remove the scholarship clause permitting players to terminate at any stage.

Cost Controls & Related Party Income

  • Financial Fair Play rules that align with Uefa to ensure English clubs are not at a disadvantage in Europe;

  • A £50 million cap per annum on all related party transactions and a more stringent ‘related party’ definition;

  • Premier League executive provided with full access to clubs accounting information to investigate cost control

  • A joint Premier League and Championship body will monitor cost controls.

  • The English Football League will introduce hard salary caps.


  • All material matters relating to the business of the Premier League will require shareholder approval, except that the Board will decide whether to approve a new owner;

  • All votes will require more than two-thirds majority to be approved;

  • All other votes for the operation of the Premier League will be one-club, one-vote except those provided for under ‘Special Voting Rights’

Special Voting Rights

  • Each of the nine clubs who, at any time of determination, have been members of the Premier League continuously for more seasons than other clubs will be considered a ‘Long-Term Shareholder’.

  • Two-thirds of the long-term shareholders can cause to be adopted without approval from the other clubs:

i) the election or removal of the CEO and/or a member of the board;

ii) amendments to cost control rules and regulations;

iii) contracts for the sale of league broadcasting and media rights

  • Two-thirds of the long-term shareholders can prevent from being adopted resolutions to:

i) change the distribution rights of the sponsorship, commercial and broadcasting rights sold


ii) change the distribution to clubs from other PL centralised rights or assets

c) alter in a material way the nature of the competition

  • Two-thirds of the long-term shareholders can veto the Premier League board’s approval of a proposed new owner.

If I read this correctly, this can essentially be boiled down to the PL giving away a bit more of its money so that Liverpool, Utd, and Arsenal can have more say in how the PL is structured. Is this essentially them calculating that the money they lose in the give away can be earned back in increased CL revenue, and they need to make room in the domestic schedule for that?

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Pretty much yes.

I think removing the League cup is a long time overdue, most pointless cup around… Or leave it and have the Premiershop clubs excluded.


Some sensible stuff here but not sure why they have specified decision making be reserved to the ‘longest serving 9’ logic - would be very interested if anyone can venture some ideas about why that particular grouping (beyond the expected ‘big 6’) is proposed?

Because the majority the big 6 hold within that group still allows the big 6 to act a cabal and dictate to the rest of the league. It makes it appear more democratic while giving them all the same power as if they presented it the way you do.


Hmm perhaps but I wondered if, Man Citeh say, are more likely to be able to push through/stifle FFP type rules if they need to get 6/9 when 3 of those are perhaps more easily influenced? As opposed to say 4/6 where they would need to convince at least 2 of the other ‘big 5’ to agree to a proposal to scupper FFP (cf just 3 smaller clubs with themselves to scupper a FFP type change against the other ‘big 5’)??

Saul Goodman, IMO.


Sorry never saw BB legalalien, can you explain the character & reference to the dunce?

I agree with a good number of proposals But I could see how this could make a non-‘big 6’ fan’s blood boil.

At least we can’t be mocked any more for acting all Billy Big Bollocks having won nothing. Good year to do it.


Parts I can see making sense, especially scrapping the League Cup and EFL cup - both are pointless and have out lived their usefullness.

Reducing the Premier League to 18 teams has some logic, but never really given it much consideration so not prepared to offer any opinion yet as I am not etirely sure.

Protected status for the top 6 and the change in voting rule sound like a load of utter bollocks. If they are going to offer protected status, surely Newcastle and Villa who are both more regular Premier League teams should be offered it before Citeh? But I would rather not see any sort of protected status at all. If you fuck up your planning and aren’t good enough to beat relegation, then you deserve to go down.

Personally, I would like to see the top clubs being able to end their U/23 teams in the lower leagues - starting at the bottom and making them earn their spots through promotions upto Championship level.

Away fans ticket prices to be capped at £20,with an 8% allocation of tickets to away fans.

Unless i missed it,I didn’t read anything on home game ticket prices,just the away ones.

I can’t find anything official about what the exact matchday % of ticket allocations is for away fans in the premiership,if it is 10% then it’s not set in stone cos it max’s out at 3,000 away fans regardless of stadium’s with a larger capacity or we’d get 7,500 tickets for Old Trafford,6k at Arsenal and Spurs.I know the FA Cup is 15%.

I think the changes to the pyramid structure make sense. Fewer games in the PL due to Europe obligations, and more game in the lower leagues to increase competitiveness, benefit loan players and encourage managers to experiment. And hence the League Cup should be abolished or turned into a cup for the lower leagues exclusively. Community Shield, fine, a summer friendly tournament for the winners of each league, but a mandatory tournament solely for cash grab in places far far away is just too much.

Then the Big 6 + 3 governing rule, probably just to get the backing of the likes like Man City and Chelsea. Just incentives for rich clubs to be rich, and for those two clubs to break the transfer market every year (while preventing others to do the same). The rules for clubs to stream 8 own matches will also upset all clubs outside the Big 6 (or actually, the Big 4. Who watches Tottenham, and who spends so much money to watch Man City online?).

All in all, fans will scream and this plan will still go brrrr

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To be honest I don’t really see the point of reducing it to 18 if you are axing other parts of it. Never much got the clamour because other than Germany every other top league is 20 clubs. Not every team plays in Europe only around 7 or just over a 3rd of the current lot.

92 should stay 92 but I’d try and regionalise leagues 1 and 2.

Not too bothered about the 3rd spot being a playoff but rather it not.

Funding for the lower leagues is all useful mind.

A later start I do approve of so it fits in line with Italy.

Germany’s winter break goes on forever and we get annoyed when the international breaks happen so wouldn’t fancy an 4 week break in the the middle of our season, and no doubt we would come back shite.

Keep it at 20 and review the rest, also if your taking it down to 34 not sure you don’t just televise every game. Even if some are via club channels. Effectively you could have 1,5 and 8 on Saturday, 12,2,4 and 7 on Sunday and 1 on Friday/Monday.

I’ve heard that proposal before somewhere, but it’s should really be on the table. It would be massive for clubs and save them (and fans) an absolute fortune in travel.


With regards to scrapping the league cup,
I can’t see man city voting for that.