Liverpool & Man Utd Leading Push to Change Landscape of Premier League & EFL

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Liverpool & Man Utd hope to change the structure of English football | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Liverpool and Manchester United are leading the push to introduce some of the biggest changes to the English football system, including finances and the structure of the various competitions.

Talks over potential changes to the landscape of English football first began in 2017, but have accelerated recently as clubs look for ways to combat the financial crisis brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Telegraph, the two sides are collaborating on what has been called 'Project Big Picture', drawing up a document entitled 'Revitalisation' with a whole host of proposed changes.

The proposal, which was written up by Liverpool's owners, the Fenway Sports Group, already has the backing from United and predicts that the rest of the so-called big six - Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City - will all follow suit.

One of the biggest changes could be the transition to an 18-team Premier League. Under these proposals, there would still be three promotion and relegation spots, but instead of the Championship play-offs, the third, fourth and fifth-placed teams in that division would square off against 16th place in the Premier League in a tournament to decide the final team.

There are also plans to do away with both the League Cup and Community Shield, or at least have the cup competitions continue without the involvement of the teams who qualify for European competitions in order to help them cope with hectic schedules.

John W. Henry
Liverpool's owners have taken charge of the process | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The potential changes to the structure of English football have been designed to give more power to the bigger sides, who would have more freedom when it comes to fixtures and would even have more leverage when it comes to voting.

The nine sides who have been in the Premier League longest - the aforementioned 'big six' plus Everton, Southampton and West Ham - would be given greater influence when it comes to rule changes and they would even have the power to veto an owner taking over another club.

In an attempt to convince EFL sides to agree to the changes, the proposal also comes with a £250m relief package which will go directly to the Football League to help with the current financial climate.

25% of the Premier League's annual income would also go to the EFL, while £100m would be given as a gift to the Football Association.

EFL chairman Rick Parry has given his approval to the plans - with United and Liverpool both pushing to bring the changes in as soon as possible, although they are prepared for a period of fierce debate while they attempt to win over the plan's doubters.

Parry said: "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.

“It is definitely going to be challenging and it is an enormous change so that won’t be without some pain. Do I genuinely think it’s for the greater good of the game as a whole? Absolutely. And if the [big] six are deriving some benefit then why shouldn’t they. Why wouldn’t they put their names to this otherwise?”

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