By Tony Attwood
This story broke in the Daily Telegraph and then was re-run by Football.London. Both “outlets” claim the plan has been proposed by Manchester United and Liverpool FC. In essence it says that
1: The Premier League should have fewer clubs
The Premier League could be reduced to 18 teams from the current 20, thus reducing the games to 34 per season.
2: The Premier League should help the EFL
3. Cutting competitions
The League Cup and Community Shield would both be scrapped, although generously the PL suggests the League Cup could continue but without the clubs that are playing in Europe.
4. A regular payment to all the EFL clubs
This is pitched at 25% of the Premier League’s turnover. Presumably the EFL would sort out how this is divided up. But there would be none of the current parachute payments.
5. Only the nine clubs that have the longest spells in the Premier League can vote of changes
That would be Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Southampton and West Ham United.
What this means is that if another extremely rich person comes along and buys a club, and throws money at it, such as happened at Manchester City and Chelsea, he or she would not then “buy” their way onto the elite board. This looks like another plan set up to stop the Saudi Arabia take over of Newcastle.
That was stopped last time largely by suggesting Saudi Arabia was involved in copyright breaches of PL games. However as we revealed yesterday, the people behind PSG and BeIN (who led the copyright objections to the Newcastle takeover), have themselves been accused of serious corruption and are in the midst of a trial in Switzerland.
One might say, beware who you believe is clean and honest.
In all cases, six votes would be needed to make changes to the Premier League’s constitution. So five of the “big six” could outvote the “little three”.
At the end of each season two clubs would be relegated while the club finishing 16th would join the Championship play-offs with a chance to get back into the Premier League.
This means that if one of the “permanent members” had an extremely bad season, or was found guilty of corruption and deducted points, they could ultimately be relegated but would still have control over how the Premier League worked.
8. The Premier League season would start later.
The idea here is that the PL clubs could play in international pre-season friendly competitions over a greater period of time and thus make more money.
9. New loan arrangements.
This would mean that Premier League clubs could loan 15 players out to other English clubs outside the Premier League at any one time, thus buying up ever more talented youngsters while stopping them going to Germany.
10. An independent women’s league
The aim would be that the league would not be part of the Premier League or the FA although the women’s teams could still be financed by the Premier League clubs.
What’s the point?
At the heart of this is a new model of distribution for TV revenue in the Premier League, although the proposals suggest that there would be no greater share for the top six and the main aim is to eliminate the huge gap in earnings between the Premier League and the EFL.
But this approach ignores some of the major issues that are affecting the game at the moment.
There is nothing about refereeing here, despite the scandal that now surrounds PGMO. They have previously claimed that with VAR they were getting approach 100% of decisions right, and yet serious research in the lock down era, has shown just how much the PGMO referees have been affected by the crowd.
What’s more the PGMO has taken refereeing in a totally different direction from other Leagues, with fewer referees, and an absolute no-talk policy with no referees facing the media. This would be an opportunity to change this stranglehold but it seems it is not being taken.
Championship clubs going into mega-debt
This is one of the biggest problems facing the game. The windfall profit to Championship clubs from going into the Premier League is so great at the moment because of the size of the TV deal, that some clubs seem willing to risk everything to get that reward. Their borrowings seem to reach higher and higher levels each year, and then if promotion does not come they tumble.
There is nothing here to stop that, and seemingly only a salary cap would bring that situation to an end. But there is no suggestion of that.
However if the PL did start to make changes of its own as suggested above they would certainly be able to tell the Championship that it had to introduce a salary cap. Thus the rewards to players would be there if they reached the Premier League – and their salaries would decline again if they dropped out.
Who adjudicates when something goes wrong?
What happens if a club feels that something is going wrong – that they have been unfairly treated over a money issue for example? Who oversees appeals against decisions? Is all this kept “within house”? By removing itself from the mainstream of football in the UK, it seems that is one of the key points – football will always judge football.
In which case, don’t expect any revelations of corruption ever to be dealt with.
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