The Premier League got into civil war on Sunday after secret plans emerged to radically reorganize the top flight hatched by Liverpool and Manchester United.
On an exceptional day, the Premier League manager also launched a devastating assault on EFL chairman Rick Parry for backing Project Big Picture, which would reduce the division to 18 clubs, limit relegation and give the Big Six full power, make further changes.
The government condemned those involved for signing a "backroom deal" that would create a closed store at the top of the game.
The Premier League was entering civil war when plans for "Project Big Picture" were revealed
Liverpool, led by John W. Henry (left), want to reduce the league from 20 to 18 teams
The open hostility of the Premier League and many of their clubs to proposals from Liverpool owner John Henry and his United counterpart Joel Glazer, including Parry, is likely to kill her at birth.
A Premier League source accused Parry of trying to take over the world's richest league in a hostile manner by proposing an agreement to jointly sell the media rights for all four divisions, allegedly offering the Big Six a guarantee that they would be in the Championship could be accommodated if the other 14 clubs refused to cooperate.
"According to the Premier League, some of the individual proposals released today in the plan could have detrimental effects on the entire game," a statement said. "We are disappointed to see that EFL Chairman Rick Parry has given his support on the file."
Man United and the Glazers (above) are partnering with Liverpool to push the plans through
EFL chairman Rick Parry (above) has given his seal of approval to the plans
The government's response was equally dismissive, if more surprising, given that it is an internal dispute between two privately owned sports organizations.
The dispute threatens to further jeopardize the chances of lower league clubs receiving financial support to deal with the Covid-19 crisis as the government has made it clear they will not help and the relations between the Premier League and the Premier League EFL become increasingly tense.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "We are surprised and disappointed that at a time of crisis we have called on the top levels of professional football to come together and sign a contract to help the lower division clubs, there seem to be back room deals that would create a closed store at the top of the game.
“Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are paramount, and anything that could undermine them is deeply worrying.
"The fans have to come first and this shows why our fan-led review of football governance will be so critical."
The radical proposals, posted on the Daily Telegraph website Sunday morning, emerged from talks that have been going on between Henry and Glazer since 2017.
Parry has been committed over the past six months in return for securing a £ 250m bailout for the EFL and a commitment to end parachute payments, which he believes will lead to greater financial stability in the lower divisions.
Chelsea and Tottenham are also said to be on board after their Chairs Bruce Buck and Daniel Levy were included in the discussions last week.
Members of the Premier League & # 39; Big Six & # 39; met on Thursday to discuss the proposals
A broader Big Six meeting on Thursday, which included Manchester City and Arsenal, was canceled without an agreement being reached.
The rest of the Premier League only learned of the controversial plans yesterday, the reactions of which vary from shock to resentment about the Big Six's perception that they have planned behind their back.
In addition to reducing the division to 18 clubs, it is proposed that the nine clubs with the longest uninterrupted stays in the Premier League be given special status – with just six votes from those clubs needed to make major changes, instead of the 14 currently needed, the largest Voltage source.
Sportsmail Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion would not vote for a smaller Premier League under any circumstances, although Aston Villa, Newcastle and West Ham are also extremely skeptical given their recent history of relegation.
Many of the other 14 top clubs have announced that they will reject any plans to reduce the league
Liverpool and United plan to focus their lobbying efforts on up-and-coming Premier League clubs like Leicester City, Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, which have enjoyed success recently. However, there is no guarantee that they will join the plan.
The fact that West Ham, despite being offered "long-term shareholder" status alongside the Big Six, Everton and Southampton, is against the idea shows the difficulties the reformists are facing.
The Big Picture document sent to clubs late yesterday sets a start date for the new structure from 2022 to 23, with four clubs relegated from the Premier League and only two promoted from the championship last season would. It is clear, however, that the proposal needs to be fundamentally changed in order to receive significant support.
Promotion and relegation between the EFL (above) and the Premier League will be changed
The proposal to give the Big Six a veto right, particularly on future changes of ownership, does not seem like a novice, and it seemed indicative that it was left to Parry, rather than a representative of Liverpool or Manchester United, to veto plans yesterday.
"This is the biggest reset since the Premier League was founded and will set the pyramid for the next 20 years," he said.
"Nobody is suggesting that it will be easy to make this happen, but for the other 14 Premier League clubs there is as much logic in it as there is in the championship as the cliffs are being removed."
“This will fill the void and given that the majority of these clubs will be in the championship at some point, it will benefit them.
"I find it difficult to align our thoughts with the government's position, but it won't put us off."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Sport (t) Football (t) Manchester United (t) Liverpool (t) Premier League