If it was in our interest, why sneak around in secret and make plans? It stinks’: Furious lower league clubs say they were tricked into backing Project Big Picture with 25 percent Premier League claim, including some of EFL’s OWN money
- EFL clubs were told the Project Big Picture (PBP) would be beneficial for them
- Rick Parry said they would be better off financially, despite no specific promises
- Most club owners in the EFL have had no insight into the detailed PBP operation
An angry group of EFL chairmen told The Mail on Sunday that they believe clubs in their divisions have been tricked into supporting the ‘Project Big Picture’ restructuring of English football, drawn up by Liverpool and Manchester United.
A key pledge in the proposal – already scrapped but likely to come back in an amended form – suggested that the 72 EFL clubs would receive 25 percent of all future Premier League revenue, or £ 750 million per year from 2022.
They were currently sharing just over £ 400 million, distributed through parachute cash, solidarity payments and academy grants.
EFL clubs were told Project Big Picture would benefit them but were not shown any details
But The Mail on Sunday has received a copy of the latest version of the Project Big Picture (PBP) plans, and it appears that Premier League earnings from overseas TV deals will be overestimated at £ 1.4bn from 2022 onwards. year.
The same design proposes a reduction in the number of Premier League clubs from 20 to 18, and that each club can sell eight games per season directly to foreign fans, or 144 in total.
Hence, the idea that overseas TV revenues will increase from £ 1.2 billion now per year (with all 380 games per season in the overseas package) to £ 1.4 billion by 2022 (when there will be 162 games in the package from a reduced total of 306) seems ridiculous.
It makes sense that that main overseas rights pack of 162 games would now be worth dramatically less than £ 1.2 billion for 380 games.
But the PBP architects believe that premium content retains value.
“If you let the Premier League clubs themselves sell a lot of games in foreign markets, it is clear that the value of the rest of the games will diminish in the overseas deal,” said Andy Holt, Chairman of League One Accrington Stanley. This whole PBP stinks. The people who designed it claim they are doing it for the good of the game, so why sneak around and plan in secret?
Accrington chief Andy Holt insisted that if it had been honorable, it wouldn’t have been kept a secret
‘If the intentions are honorable and they want to help, why not be open and transparent from the start, telling people they are going to make proposals – some of which will go well and some not – and talk. The fact that they didn’t speak volumes. ‘
A second owner-chairman of a lower division club told the MoS: “ This looks like a sampling of the six greatest beasts that would in fact have become all-powerful.
“All we’ve gotten is private briefings from the EFL that it’s in our best interest to support it. But we didn’t actually get to see any detail. ‘
Most club owners in the EFL have had no insight into the detailed PBP operation. The plan, which offers a £ 250 million Covid-19 bailout to EFL clubs plus 25 percent of future Premier League earnings as main details, has not been circulated.
Rick Parry felt EFL clubs would be better off financially, but no specific promises were made
“You have to wonder why EFL Chairman Rick Parry pushed for this,” said another club owner.
Yes, it takes the clubs out of what we hope will be a short-term revenue gap. But at what higher costs in the future? ‘
The PBP document predicts that the Premier League’s domestic TV revenues will increase by nearly £ 200 million by 2022, at a time when most analysts believe it will fall or remain flat.
Sources say the increase actually includes future EFL TV money as well. This again makes a mockery of the claim of 25 percent of PL revenues; in fact, that 25 percent includes a portion of the EFL’s own money.
Sources stress that at no point have EFL clubs been promised specific revenue increases, only that Parry believes they would be better off financially under PBP in the near future.