Changes coming to the EPL with Project Big Picture

Emirates Stadium

A massive proposal is underway in the EPL that will change the league. Called “Project Big Picture,” the proposal could come into effect in 2021 and change football across the United Kingdom.

What is Project Big Picture?

Project Big Picture is the most significant proposed change to football across the United Kingdom since the creation of the English Premier League in 1992. The project has sweeping effects across all levels of professional football and is drawing mixed reviews. EPL clubs plan to discuss the proposal in the upcoming days and weeks. Notable parts of the plan are listed below.

  • The project has a few main points of emphasis.
  • The EPL size is reduced from 20 clubs to 18
  • The potential demise of the EFL Cup and the Community Shield
  • Power in the EPL shifts to the nine clubs with the longest reign in the EPL (the major six clubs, plus Everton, Southampton, and West Ham).
  • Payments from the EPL to the EFL and the Football Association
  • A higher percentage of revenue from the EPL going to EFL clubs.
  • 16th placed club in EPL replacing sixth-placed club in the EFL playoffs

Why is this proposal gaining traction now?

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt much heavier in the EFL and lower-tiered football leagues. The lack of fans and television revenue is hurting clubs financially. Without this revenue, the chances of clubs folding operations increases.

The proposal includes a £250m upfront to help clubs deal with the revenue loss, while the increased revenue share – from 4% to 25% – will help these clubs weather the potential long-term financial losses this pandemic could cause. The £250m payment will come when and if the proposal is agreed upon, with the increased revenue sharing coming in future years.

The proposal is drawing mixed reviews from all facets of football across the U.K.

Why clubs are for this proposal

EFL clubs and the league’s chairman, Rick Parry, are highly supportive of the proposal. Without help financially, the league’s future is grim – as EFL clubs from all tiers rely on ticket sales for the majority of their revenue.

The “Big Six” clubs also gain from this proposal. The league’s current voting structure requires 14 of the 20 clubs to agree on something for it to pass. The change, which shifts power to the nine longest tenured clubs, means future decisions will only need six votes to pass.  

Why clubs are against it

The shift of power could potentially allow the “Big Six” (Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Chelsea) to have too much control over the league and its futures. Many other clubs fear giving too much power to the “Big Six” could cause a decrease in competitive balance.  

The EPL’s smaller clubs also stand to lose money with increased revenue sharing, especially if they straddle the relegation line. These clubs could suffer long term losses from the increase revenue shares, and their futures could be in as much doubt as clubs in the lower tiers. 

The less wealthy clubs are also frustrated with the plan, as it was released to the media before being discussed.

What the changes mean for Ipswich Town FC

Without fans in the stands, smaller clubs such as Ipswich are struggling. However, the plan and how the revenue gained from the EPL is shared is unknown. There is hope for the EFL to spread the wealth to multiple tiers, but until more details are revealed, no one can know for sure where the money will go.

Will the proposal pass?

It is too early to tell whether this proposal will pass. There is no doubt that lower-tier clubs need financial help from the EPL. However, how much and where it comes from is uncertain. Some clubs are voicing their reluctance to give up as much revenue as stated in the plan – as they are losing money themselves with no fans able to attend matches. It will be interesting to follow this story over the next bit, to see if concessions are made or if it straight passes or fails.

How the proposal could change betting

One aspect that is not considered in this proposal is sports betting. Dropping two clubs from the EPL and shifting more power to the “Big Six” could have a monumental impact on football vegas sports betting and the prominent bookmakers in the U.K and Europe will follow this referendum closely.

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