Game’s gone, mate | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Make no mistake, the proposed Project Big Picture is an elite club power grab.

Each relief measure and each good idea comes with the depressing caveat that this ‘rescue package’ would essentially hand the keys to English football to the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’.

However, are there any crumbs of comfort from the proposals?

Here are the eight main changes from the plans ranked in order of how bad they for English football.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
We miss this – a lot | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

It a may be a thinly-veiled attempt to bribe fans, but the supporters charter is a welcome initiative.

These plans would see away tickets capped at £20 as opposed to £30. Subsidised travel and a commitment to safe standing are also mentioned – albeit with no concrete measures included in the proposals.

It’s important to note that on these last two points, that both measures have been discussed for years with nothing happening. There’s very little to suggest that anything will be different this time around.

Still, the fan charter is the least awful part of Project Big Picture.

Up the non-league
Up the non-league | Colin McPherson/Getty Images

The grassroots game has been absolutely decimated by the pandemic. Most leagues were forced to shutdown in March and some non-league sides are still being prevented from welcoming spectators back.

Because of this, the £100m that Project Big Picture is planning to pledge to the FA would be warmly welcomed.

How that money would be allocated with so many areas of the grassroots game in dire need of assistance remains to be seen.

Shrewsbury Town v Oldham Athletic - Sky Bet League One
More EFL clubs could go the way of Bury if funding is not granted urgently | Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

The EFL funding structure is in need of revision – no one is denying that.

A look at the accounts of Football League clubs would give most accountants a heart attack, such are the gargantuan losses witnessed across the divisions.

Project Big Picture has plans to rectify this. The idea would be to lower the gulf in TV money between the Premier League and the EFL. This, in theory, should stop Championship clubs over-stretching their resources in pursuit of a top flight pay day. There’s also plans to do away with parachute payments, which if this new system worked would no longer be necessary.

On paper, this plans seems like a good one. However, it relies on top flight clubs voting to forego their own revenue. That’s just so unlikely to happen, isn’t it?

Chinese fans of England's captain David
Substitute David Beckham for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in 2022 | STR/Getty Images

One of the less noteworthy inclusions in Project Big Picture is the proposal to move the Premier League start date to earlier in August.

Although it may seem somewhat inconsequential, this is another stipulation designed to give elite clubs an advantage. An increased pre-season offers sides the chance to go on money spinning overseas tours.

Not only do these tours have the potential to drive revenue in the short term, moving the start date would also give the biggest sides ample time to compete for international fans – furthering strengthening their position at the top table for years to come.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp famously thinks the EFL Cup is a joke | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Dear all ‘Big Six’ clubs,

Nobody cares that you have to play a cup game against Newport County the same week you have to play in the league.

Someone please tell Jurgen Klopp in particular that part and parcel of being an incredibly rich football club is competing on multiple fronts. Scandalously, that will occasional involve your professional footballers having to play several games in a week.

For smaller sides, a good run in this competition can create memories that last a lifetime. Just ask Bradford City fans.

So, if you would, please wipe away the tears, stop you whinging and just get on with it.

Ross Barkley
Chelsea would welcome these new loan rules | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Plans included in Project Big Picture would also see the Premier League loan system change. Surprise, surprise, the big clubs are again set to benefit.

The proposed new rules would see clubs permitted to have 15 players on loan at one time, with up to four of those players allowed at a single English club.

This loosening of the loan restriction would inevitably lead to the biggest sides hoovering up even more talent than they do already, safe in the knowledge that they can always ship them up to Aston Villa if they cannot make the squad.

In short, it’s a really stupid idea.

Tom Cairney
Fulham were the most recent winners of the Championship play-offs | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

One of the most discussed aspects of Project Big Picture is the potential restructuring of the Premier League.

It is proposed that the amount of teams is reduced from 20 to 18, leaving a total of 90 sides in the Football League as a whole. This seems a bit unnecessary, but that expanded Champions League that everyone is clamouring for (not) must be accommodated somehow.

Meanwhile, it’s also been suggested that there will be two automatic relegations from the Premier League, while whoever finishes third from bottom will go into a play-off tournament with the sides who finished third, fourth and fifth in the Championship.

It might make for an entertaining spectacle, but why should the third worst side secure a second chance to preserve their top flight status?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Imagine this man having an overwhelming say on the future direction of English football
Imagine this man having an overwhelming say on the future direction of English football | Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

By far the biggest travesty in Project Big Picture is the proposed changes to the Premier League voting system.

Currently, new rules must be ratified by a 14 vote majority on a one club, one vote basis. Under these new proposals, the nine longest serving Premier League clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Southampton, Tottenham, West Ham) would be given long-time shareholder status.

In practice only six of these clubs would need to agree to new proposals for them to be passed.

This is a power grab, pure and simple. No matter the benefits, it is vital that these changes are resisted if we want to avoid over a hundred years of footballing culture being replaced by a soulless European Super League sponsored by an oil company.

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