Premier League: Liverpool & Man Utd lead English football reform plans


Liverpool's players celebrate as they lift the Premier League trophy
Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time last season

Liverpool and Manchester United are leading radical proposals for the reform of English football.

Under the proposals, the Premier League would be cut to 18 teams, the EFL Cup in its present form would be abolished and the Community Shield scrapped.

In addition, the top-flight’s 14-club majority voting system would change.

It is thought English Football League (EFL) chairman Rick Parry is in favour of the plans, first reported by the Daily Telegraph.external-link

It is understood Liverpool’s owners, the Fenway Sports Group, came forward with the initial plan, which has been worked on by United co-chairman Joel Glazer. It is anticipated it will receive the backing of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – the other members of England’s ‘big six’.

The idea is to address long-standing EFL concerns about the huge gap in funding between its divisions and the Premier League by handing over 25% of the annual income, though the current parachute payment system would be scrapped.

There would be a £250m up-front payment to address the existing crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the Football Association would receive what is being described as a £100m “gift”.

Paul Pogba (right) is congratulated after scoring
Manchester United are among the clubs driving the change

No date has been set for the proposed new-style league to be in operation but sources have suggested 2022-23 is not out of the question.

In order to get down from 20 to 18, it is anticipated four clubs would be relegated directly, with two promoted from the Championship. In addition, there would be play-offs involving the team to finish 16th in the Premier League and those in third, fourth and fifth in the second tier.

It is also planned that, as well as the ‘big six’, ever-present league member Everton, West Ham United and Southampton – ninth and 11th respectively in the list of clubs who have featured in the most Premier League seasons – would be granted special status.

If six of those nine clubs vote in favour of a proposal, it would be enough to get it passed.

There is no mention of Aston Villa and Newcastle United, both of whom have featured in more Premier League campaigns than Manchester City.

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