The proposed revamping of the Premier League, known as Project Big Picture, will offer tremendous advantages to Manchester United when compared to existing arrangements.
As reported in The Telegraph, under the proposed new scheme, which is the brainchild of Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports and supported by United’s majority shareholders the Glazer family, the Premier League will be reduced to 18 teams with a two-up, two-down relegation system and with the third-bottom team entering the Championship play-offs to fight for survival.
In addition, the one club, one vote system will be scrapped, allowing a senior group of nine clubs including the big six – United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool – and the three other longest standing league members – Everton, Southampton and West Ham, to have supreme power about how the league is run.
The project is supported by the EFL chairman Rick Parry, as EFL clubs will receive a one-off payment of £250 million and a share of 25% of Premier League profits each term.
Clubs participating in Europe will not play in the League Cup – if it survives at all – and the Community Shield will be abolished.
The advantages to United of the proposal being passed will be enormous – and not just because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s record against sides nearer the bottom of the table is considerably worse than any of United’s rivals.
First, UEFA also plans to revamp the Champions League, probably from 2024, extending the number of teams and consequently the number of games played. Discussions as to whether the group stage will consist of six teams per group, or whether there will be a second group stage, have already taken place.
English clubs already face a disadvantage in European competition due to fixture congestion and so a reduced Premier League calendar and the absence of the League Cup should make it much easier for teams like United to win the Champions League.
A second advantage of Project Big Picture will be for United’s travelling fans, who are among the most dedicated and loyal in the league, if not the world. The proposal includes the introduction of capping of away tickets at £20, with subsidised travel for fans and a minimum away ticket allocation of eight per cent of capacity.
A third advantage of particular interest to United will be the huge increase in the number of loan players allowed to play at other English clubs. Under the new scheme, clubs will be able to loan out 15 players rather than the current four and up to four at any single club in England as opposed to the current limit of one. As United’s academy is one of the most developed in the Premier League, the extra experience that the club’s young stars will be able to gain from playing at a professional level will be invaluable.
The new proposals stand an excellent chance of being adopted due to the fact that they will benefit the 72 EFL clubs as well as many of those in the Premier League. They are also likely to be popular with the majority of United fans, who would no doubt enjoy the prospect of more top level games against Europe and England’s elite and fewer miserable Tuesday night trips to the likes of MK Dons to participate in the League Cup.
This summer’s transfer window has been one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.