Project Big Picture abandoned after EPL clubs vote down plans

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Project Big Picture, the controversial proposal that promised to centralize power in the hands of a select few Premier League clubs, was scrapped Wednesday after a meeting between the top division's 20 teams.

Manchester United and Liverpool, the two clubs that drafted the proposal, reportedly agreed to abandon their plans following stiff opposition from the rest of the Premier League.

Project Big Picture featured a £250-million bailout for the 72 teams in the second, third, and fourth tiers of English football, in addition to a 25% share of the Premier League's annual revenue. It received "overwhelming" support from lower-league clubs on Tuesday.

The Premier League is, however, planning a different way to assist with the financing and survival of the English Football League.

"Clubs will work collaboratively, in an open and transparent process, focusing on competition structure, calendar, governance, and financial sustainability," the league said in a statement. "This project has the full support of The FA and will include engagement with all relevant stakeholders including fans, Government and, of course, the EFL."

In the interim, the Premier League is making £50 million in grants and interest-free loans available to clubs in League One and Two, the third and fourth tiers. Teams in the lower leagues are at greater risk of bankruptcy because of their reliance on matchday revenue, which is nonexistent as games continue to be played behind closed doors.

EFL chairman Rick Parry championed Project Big Picture last week, saying it was "designed for the greater good of English football." Parry forecasted a £200-million shortfall by the end of September because of coronavirus-related restrictions.

Crucially, the controversial reforms would've given superior veto power to nine of the Premier League's biggest clubs - United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton, West Ham United, and Southampton - allowing those teams to control how broadcast revenue is distributed.

The Football Association, which currently holds special voting privileges and possesses the power to approve or reject rule changes, strongly opposed the plans, according to The Guardian's David Hytner and Paul MacInnes.

Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale reportedly asked for an apology from Liverpool and United, who were accused of backroom scheming. The chairmen of both clubs refused.

Project Big Picture abandoned after EPL clubs vote down plans
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