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Walsall set to benefit from £50m Premier League bailout

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær looks dejected Pool via REUTERS  Alex Livesey EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unau

The 20 Premier League clubs met on Wednesday via video conference to discuss the controversial Project Big Picture plans, which were put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United last weekend.

Among the controversial proposals is to reduce the number of Premier League clubs from 20 to 18, while nine clubs (the "big six" plus Everton, West Ham and Southampton) would become major shareholders and have a bigger say in decisions instead of the 14 out of 20 rule now needed for votes to pass.

A £50 million rescue package in the form of grants and interest-free loans for clubs in League One and League Two was agreed on Wednesday.

Liverpool and United worked with the English Football League on a plan that would have provided more cash for the three professional divisions below the Premier League, but it was denounced by critics as a power grab by the wealthy elite to strengthen their control.

For the rest of the EFL however, revising the Premier League structure will be at the detriment of the clubs struggling to stay in the top flight and those pushing to get into it- with only two clubs coming up from the Championship automatically while 16th in the Premier League battle it out with the other playoff teams in a "Bundesliga style" promotion/relegation system.

A further £100 million would be provided to the English Football Association, which also has mounting coronavirus costs due to global games behind closed doors, notably to help women's football.

Scrapping this 80-year old domestic tournament will lessen aforesaid opportunities, resulting in less prize money for lower league clubs and unforgettable days-out for their supporters. "We'd also look at other proposals if they came along from the government or the Premier League if they came along but they've been sadly lacking".

"Project Big Picture" is the name given to a proposal being led by Liverpool and Manchester United that would reshape the game in England.

But with the involvement of three of the biggest clubs in the country- with the potential of three more to voice their allegiance- means this project must be taken earnestly in the many meetings that will follow.

First there was "Project Restart" to get the Premier League up and running during the pandemic and now we have "Project No Start". The current ban on supporters attending games is draining their finances.

"It's a day to applaud Liverpool and Manchester United", beamed Parry.

However, the plan, backed by EFL chairman Rick Parry, does have considerable support in the lower leagues where clubs face going to the wall in the coming months unless there is a bailout.

"In addition to the special share in the Premier League, which prevents certain changes being made to the constitution without the FA's consent, it is also the FA's responsibility to sanction competitions in England - including any proposed new competition - as well as being responsible for licensing clubs, through Uefa, to play in Europe". They could therefore nominate the teams left in the Premier League if there were a breakaway.

Instead, Project Big Picture is likely to be the starting point for discussion.

The most pressing need is that for a bailout of the EFL - The chairman of fourth-tier London club Leyton Orient, Nigel Travis, has claimed some clubs will disappear within six weeks without financial support.

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