A plan to transform English soccer, engineered by Liverpool and Manchester United, was rejected by Premier League rivals at a meeting on Wednesday.
Liverpool and United worked with the English Football League (EFL) on a plan that would have provided more cash for the three professional divisions below the Premier League, but it was denounced by critics as a power grab by the wealthy elite to strengthen their control and split of television revenue.
The plan — known as Project Big Picture — was criticized by the government and Premier League leadership ahead of Wednesday’s video call between clubs.
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The Premier League said that its 20 clubs “unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or the FA [Football Association].”
The governing body had threatened to block any changes that it did not approve by using its “special share” in the Premier League, which was created as a breakaway in 1992.
However, public discord since EFL chairman Rick Parry made the secret plans public has spurred the Premier League into working on what it calls a “strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football.”
The divisions that the plan created were highlighted by the Premier League statement pledging an “open and transparent process,” but chief executive Richard Masters would not say what Liverpool and United said at the meeting.
“There was an acknowledgment in the room that English football’s model is a huge success, but that it hasn’t been reviewed or modernized for a long time,” Masters said. “Perhaps some systemic issues have built up that need dealing with. A lot of the things we’ve been talking about — league structure, calendar construction, governance, financial regulation, broadcasting and commercial — will all be part of our review process.”
Liverpool and United have said nothing publicly about their role in the radical strategy, leaving Parry to be their public spokesman.
“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,” Masters said.
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