Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani has described the proposals aimed at radically changing the Premier League’s structures and finances as a “disgrace” and called on England’s top-flight to remain united to be successful.
Premier League clubs on Wednesday rejected ‘Project Big Picture’ plans put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United that would have increased funding for the 72 Football League teams but also included special voting rights for the biggest sides in the Premier League.
“I believe what happened is really a disgrace, and for many reasons,” Radrizzani told The Times.
“I’d like to remind clubs that tried to do this via the back door… the value of their clubs has grown significantly, four or five times their investment since they bought, thanks to the fantastic job of the Premier League executive and the union of clubs working together.
“The success of the Premier League is driven by this unity and the success of the clubs in working together, so if this is attacked and someone is trying to dismantle it we need to strongly defend it.”
‘Project Big Picture’ proposals
- Premier League reduced to 18 clubs
- No EFL Cup or Community Shield
- Special status for nine longest serving clubs – ‘Big Six’, Everton, West Ham, Southampton
- Only six of the nine longest-serving clubs need to vote for major change
- £250m immediate compensation for EFL
- Figure also represents coronavirus financial bail-out
- Club who finishes 16th in Premier League to replace sixth-placed Championship club in EFL play-offs
- Premier League to commit 25 per cent of future revenue to EFL
Radrizzani said that if money was the issue, clubs could discuss ways to get better value in international markets.
“So why not find a solution where the top clubs can benefit from their brands in an international distribution of content? It doesn’t need to destabilise the league,” Radrizzani added.
“The league is fantastic and unpredictable and that’s what makes it different from many other leagues in Europe. It’s the result of many years of togetherness.”
The Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters admits there has been frustration over the public backing of Project Big Picture, but insists there is “no beef” with the EFL.
Masters described Wednesday’s meeting as “candid, constructive and positive in the end” and denied any suggestion the proposals may have damaged the reputation of the league.
“Clearly there’s some frustration a proposal that hadn’t had any input from the Premier League, from our clubs, has been pushed so hard in public,” he said.
“But we don’t have a beef with the EFL, certainly not with its clubs. We want to have a good relationship with them. We’re their biggest partner.
“We have a historic relationship with them. So we want it to be constructive.
“What we tried to do was separate the issue of EFL solidarity and the EFL rescue from a forward plan, and that’s what eventually got decided by clubs.
“Whilst there has been a lot of things said and done, a lot of speculation over the last four days, I don’t think it’s irreparably damaged the Premier League. And I think that today’s meeting proved that.”