“The rich clubs will have no qualms about taking advantage of the crisis to secede”

According to Sky News, the project of a European Premier League would consist in supplanting the Champions League and would promise its sixteen or eighteen members colossal income.

Pness thirty years after the launch of the Premier League, a competition created by the clubs of the English football elite under the aegis of a commercial company by freeing itself from the English federation, England is roaring with new rumors of schism.

The “Project Big Picture”, piloted by Manchester United and Liverpool, was first made public on October 11, when the richest clubs calculate their losses due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 and where those of the three lower professional divisions of the English Football League (EFL) fear a general sinking.

Power in the “Big 6”

At first glance, this reform showed an unusual concern for solidarity, with a rescue fund of 250 million pounds for the EFL and the promise that this would affect in the future a quarter of the broadcasting rights of the first four divisions.

The list of counterparts was longer: reduction of the Premier League from twenty to eighteen clubs, with only two automatic relegations and play-offs for the 17the, elimination of the Carabao Cup (Coupe de la Ligue) and the Charity Shield at the start of the season.

The devil was nestled above all in an overhaul of the governance of the Premier League, granting preferential voting rights to the nine clubs with the longest seniority in the competition: the “Big 6” (Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham), supplemented by Everton, West Ham and Southampton.

The votes of six of them would prevail to adopt any reform – or to oppose it – while fourteen are needed now. In short, a seizure of power in line with the growing political hold of the big European clubs over their national leagues.

The Big Picture project, widely denounced as a coup, including by the government, was rejected by the Premier League on October 14. Her boss, Richard Masters, said a “strategic plan” would be discussed in a more transparent and consensual manner.

European Premier League

The lull was short-lived. The president of the Federation Association, Greg Clarke, had previously said that the promoters of the project had threatened to create an independent league. And, Thursday, October 22, Sky News affirmed that Liverpool and Manchester United were among the initiators of a… European Premier League.

Not enough to panic at this stage. The “specter” of a closed European competition has fueled a twenty-year soap opera in which each episode invariably experiences the same outcome: UEFA is granting Champions League arrangements that are increasingly favorable to the continent’s Gotha.

The likelihood of the threat materializing increases, however. The last project revealed by the “Football Leaks” in 2018 was very elaborate, and it has led UEFA to collaborate on the establishment of a semi-closed formula of the Champions League which could begin in 2024.

This European Premier League would advance the deadline. Contested in parallel with the national championships, intended to supplant the Champions League, it promises its (sixteen or eighteen) members colossal income. In addition to the English “Big 6”, there would appear the usual Real, Barça, Bayern, PSG or Juventus.

The opportunity and the thieves

The American bank JP Morgan is said to be ready to invest $ 6 billion, alongside other investors. More surprising is the presumed blessing of FIFA, which would thus override the prerogatives of UEFA and whose approval would allow clubs to escape exclusions.

With its incomplete list of participants (and that it would be difficult to establish without triggering conflicts), the project seems vague, a little too explosive, while the way in which it has leaked raises the suspicion of a communication operation.

However, current circumstances may precipitate events. For clubs that are powerful, financially weakened and less inclined than ever to share a shrinking pie, the immediate prospect of a bigger pie for fewer shares is more appealing than ever.

Perhaps their owners dread the resistance they would arouse. But let us not doubt it: they will have no qualms about taking advantage of the crisis to accomplish the sporting and economic secession of which they have cherished the idea for a long time.

At a time when the “pyramid” of football threatens to collapse, as in England, it is not surprising that private or state funds and billionaires are trying to detach the top to protect their investments. .


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here