EFL reject Premier League’s £50m rescue package

The English Football League said the conditional offer ‘falls some way short’ of what is required

Tom Kershaw
Thursday 15 October 2020 19:27
Premier League rejects Project Big Picture
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The English Football League have rejected the Premier League’s offer of a £50m rescue package after an emergency meeting of clubs and executives on Thursday. 

After the collapse of Project Big Picture, which had promised a £250m bailout for the EFL, Premier League clubs agreed a structure of grants and loans in order to subsidise struggling League One and League Two clubs.

However, after the EFL’s three divisions held separate meetings, the proposal was deemed to “fall some way short” of what is required to save clubs from financial peril, while its exclusion of the Championship also provoked frustration.

“The need for continued unity across the membership base was fundamental to discussions across all three divisions, and therefore there was a strong consensus that any rescue package must meet the requirements of all 72 Clubs before it can be considered in full,” an EFL statement read.

"The League has been very clear in its discussions of the financial requirements needed to address lost gate receipts in 2019/20 and 2020/21, and while EFL Clubs are appreciative that a formal proposal has now been put forward, the conditional offer of £50 million falls some way short of this.

“The EFL is keen to continue discussions with the Premier League to reach an agreeable solution that will address the short-term financial needs of all of our Clubs and allow us the ability to consider the longer-term economic issues in parallel that specifically look to achieve a more sustainable EFL for the future.”

The civil war within English football continued in the aftermath of Project Big Picture’s rejection on Thursday, with EFL chief executive Rick Parry, a ringleader of the drastic proposal, accusing FA chairman Greg Clarke of suggesting many of the points of reform, including an 18-team Premier League and the prospect of B teams, in a leaked email. 

Clarke, who played a major role in dive-bombing Project Big Picture by claiming the FA had withdrawn from discussions when the threat of a breakaway league was made, responded in a statement: “It is an important part of my job to work together with key stakeholders across the game to discuss and evaluate potential improvements to the structure of English football that would have a positive long-term effect at every level of the game. 

"The paper captures a summary of what areas and issues were discussed at an early meeting. “As the discussions progressed, I and others were unhappy with the direction of travel in terms of major redistribution of money and power to bigger clubs and the mooting of a breakaway. I confirmed earlier this week that at this point I made the decision to discontinue my involvement in these discussions.”

Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman criticised Parry in a letter to clubs once the £50m rescue package proposal had been agreed, claiming the EFL chief was jeopardising talks over a bailout. 

“Despite Rick’s actions on a number of matters, which have deliberately created division and put in jeopardy a much-needed rescue package for EFL clubs, the Premier League today gained club approval for an offer for League One and League Two clubs," Hoffman wrote.

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