The Chairman of the English Football League (EFL) Rick Parry disappointed the Premier League when he declared his support for Liverpool and Manchester United‘s proposal which seeks to restructure English football.
However, Parry has stated some of the critical reasons for supporting the controversial proposal. One of the reasons he cited was that the proposal tagged “Project Big Picture” could narrow the gap between Premier League clubs and EFL clubs in terms of having access to funding.
The controversial proposal which seeks to reduce the number of clubs in the Premier League from 20 to 18 and give superior authority to the top 6 clubs in the league, has been condemned by a couple of respected pundits, the government in the United Kingdom, the Premier League, and some fans’ group.
Since the proposal went public on Sunday, no active football administrator or football star has come out to publicly support it except Rick Parry who organized a press conference hours after the publication went viral to stress how important the proposal is to the English football pyramid.
One aspect that interested Parry most in the proposal is the fact that the “Project Big Picture” provided that 25% of all future TV deals in Britain should be given to EFL clubs. Another aspect that interested him is that the proposal provided for £250 million relief funds for EFL clubs which he has been advocating for since May 2020.
“The message from Liverpool and Manchester United is that they do genuinely care about the pyramid”, said the EFL chairman.
“The Premier League could have come up with a plan like this at any time. How long has it taken to get a rescue package? Months.
“It was May when the government was saying we need the Premier League to step up to the plate. What’s wrong with us talking about a plan that is demonstrably in the best interest of the pyramid and our clubs?
“We genuinely think that this is in the best interests of the game as a whole.”
Rick Parry insists that “Project Big Picture” is a viable plan.
Critics believe that Rick Parry had to jump on the proposal because of his history as a former chief executive of Liverpool football club between 1998 and 2009. After his time at the club, Rick Parry went on to sit on the UEFA investigatory panel of club financial fair play cases and as a member of the Board of the ICSS-Sorbonne sporting integrity program.
The 65-year-old football administrator went on to become the chairman of the EFL on 19 September 2019. So far as the chief of EFL, Parry has been advocating for equality or reduction in the disparity between EFL clubs and Premier League clubs in terms of sharing of revenues.
Hence, he believes that the proposal Manchester United and Liverpool football club came up with will remain relevant for football in Britain for at least 25 years. He also believes that the proposal is a viable plan for English football.
Parry said: “I have highlighted various iniquities, including the problem of parachute payments, the massive disparity between what Premier League and EFL clubs receive in TV revenue and, right across leagues, the requirement for owner funding excess of £400m a year even without COVID.
“This plan is about removing the cliff edge and narrowing the gap in funding that has caused irrational behavior.
“Aside from the six clubs who have been there all the time, 43 teams have played in the Premier League. By definition, 29 of them are with us in the EFL. This is not about us and them – or the 14 who are there at the moment.
“There may be some in the Championship who don’t fancy the idea of an 18-team Premier League. But they are saying it is time to look at the greater good.
“We have not been used or coerced. Our clubs are hard-bitten. They are looking for hope and a brighter future for the game. This is about a structure that works for 25 years.
“If there’s a degree of pain elsewhere, that is unfortunate. The only thing that matters is, is this the right thing to do? Is it a viable plan? Is it the right plan? I think it is and we are going to back it.”