Project Big Picture plans were ‘disgraceful’ and ‘laced with bribes’, says MP

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Project Big Picture proposals were “laced with bribes” to EFL clubs, according to an MP who has called for a parliamentary debate about the future of football.

The proposals for a dramatic reshaping of English football became public knowledge on October 11 but within three days had been formally rejected by the Premier League.

PBP had been developed by Liverpool and Manchester United and was criticised as an attempted ‘power grab’ by the Premier League’s big six clubs.

However, they were publicly endorsed by EFL chairman Rick Parry because they included an immediate £250million rescue package for his clubs and a 25 per cent share of future broadcast revenues for the Premier League.

Ian Mearns, the Labour MP for Gateshead and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters, said in the House of Commons on Thursday: “Last week we saw England’s six richest clubs put forward a disgraceful proposal to restructure the league laced with bribes to EFL clubs, many of which are in extreme financial duress, in order to secure their agreement.

“Thankfully these proposals were rejected, but the hares are running. So can we have a statement from the Secretary of State for DCMS and a debate in Government time about the future of our national game, which is in the heart of millions in our country?”

Jacob Rees-Mogg responded on behalf of the Government: “I must confess that the detailed workings of the Football League is beyond my remit and realm of knowledge. Had he asked about the County Championship, I would have been better placed to answer.

“However, I think he should ask his own committee for this debate as it would be very well subscribed and a matter of great interest to many members.”

Ed Woodward has called on the Premier League to deliver on its promise to look at the game's finances and structures
Ed Woodward has called on the Premier League to deliver on its promise to look at the game’s finances and structures (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who admitted on Wednesday that his club had played an “active role” in PBP discussions, said: “We are pleased that the Premier League has committed to work together on a plan for the future structures and financing of English football.

“Now it must deliver on that promise, and we are committed to playing a leading role in pushing that process towards a successful outcome.”

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