The top division could bail out the EFL with a £250 million payment but the Premier League is concerned the plans could damage English football
The Premier League has warned that a plan that is heavily backed by Liverpool and would lead to drastic reforms of English football, including the reduction of the top-flight to 18 teams, would have a “damaging impact” on the game.
The English Football League (EFL) is seeking a £250 million ($326m) bailout to cover the losses suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The plan, originally put forward by EFL chairman and former chief executive of the Premier League and Liverpool Rick Parry and strongly supported by the Reds as well as others, would see the top-flight pay that sum by taking out a loan.
The Football Association would also receive a one-off £100m ($130m) payment to help deal with the Covid-19 crisis and support the women’s game as well as the non-league and grassroots levels.
In exchange, however, the Premier League’s nine longest serving teams would be granted special status and the division’s ‘big six’ – Liverpool, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham – would be given the collective power to make major changes.
These would include the changing of rules, contracts, club ownership and the removal of the chief executive. Everton, West Ham and Southampton would make up the remainder of the teams given special status.
Meanwhile, the Premier League would be reduced by two teams, while only two sides would automatically be relegated to the Championship, with another entering a play-off tournament with the third, fourth and fifth placed teams in the second-tier.
The Premier League has voiced its criticism of the plans, claiming some of the proposals could end up hurting English football.
“Both the Premier League and The FA support a wide-ranging discussion on the future of the game, including its competition structures, calendar and overall financing particularly in light of the effects of Covid-19,” a statement released on Sunday read.
“Football has many stakeholders, therefore this work should be carried out through the proper channels enabling all clubs and stakeholders the opportunity to contribute.
“In the Premier League’s view, a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game and we are disappointed to see that Rick Parry, chair of the EFL, has given his on-the-record support.
“The Premier League has been working in good faith with its clubs and the EFL to seek a resolution to the requirement for Covid-19 rescue funding. This work will continue.”
As part of the proposals, the Premier League season would also start later in August to allow clubs more pre-season friendlies while all clubs would have to compete in a summer tournament every five years. Furthermore, the EFL Cup and Community Shield will be abolished.
There would also be changes to the Premier League’s loan rules, allowing clubs to have 15 players sent out to other teams in England and as many as four at a single club.
Also, 6% of the Premier League’s gross revenues would go towards paying for stadium improvements across the top four leagues and away tickets would be capped at £20, with subsidies for travelling supporters and a return to safe standing areas.
The proposals seek to address concerns regarding the gap in funding between the lower divisions and the Premier League by handing over 25 per cent of annual income, while ending the parachute payment system for teams relegated from the top-flight.