Reform plan leaves English Football divided

Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp Source: Getty Images

When Liverpool and Manchester United sought someone to front a push to shake up the English football system, they turned to the man who pulled it off before.

"When we formed the Premier League, we had enormous initial objections," recalled Ricky Parry, who helped clubs break away in 1992 to form what has grown into the world's richest club football competition.

"Change is never easy. Change is never popular but sometimes change is necessary."

It's particularly necessary within Parry's employer - the English Football League, which oversees 72 clubs in the three divisions below the Premier League.

Even before the pandemic, the EFL was full of teams operating on unsuitable budgets.

Parry's solution seems logical in going back to the Premier League and securing not only an immediate bailout, but a long-term formula to derive more cash from it.

This includes an immediate advance of £100 million (A$182 million) to the Football Association and another £250 million (A$454.5 million) to the EFL.

While EFL clubs are optimistic that plans to boost their bank balances are in play, they know just why there is so much suspicion about the motives of the Premier League elite.

The problem is Parry - the Premier League's first chief executive - didn't work with the current leadership but with the two most successful teams, Manchester United and Liverpool.

The Premier League attacked the proposals as 'damaging' for the English game as a whole.

Downing Street denounced "backroom dealing that undermines trust in football governance"

That's because in return for the Premier League sending more cash trickling down into the EFL each year - as "Project Big Picture" envisages - United and Liverpool would carve out means to seize more control and ultimately more cash.

"This isn't about giving power to a limited number of named clubs," Parry said.

However, all 20 clubs would no longer be equal partners.

In fact, there would be only 18 with the Premier League shrunk to allow the elite to cash in with more games beyond England in a potentially expanded UEFA Champions League after 2024.

United and Liverpool would be part of a group of the nine longest serving clubs who have control of the decision-making process with the required approval of only six to instigate changes.

They'd also gain the right to sell the live TV rights to some of their games internationally.

Source AAP