Southampton have voted unanimously along with their Premier League rivals to discard “Project Big Picture” proposals put forward by Manchester United and Liverpool.
A report from the Telegraph’s Sam Wallace confirms that the radical new plans have been abandoned after fellow top-flight clubs forced United and Liverpool to back down.
Among the proposals put forward were more power to clubs who had been in the Premier League for the longest, and that would have included Saints in their eighth year back in the top division.
This would have removed the current voting system in the league that gives every club a say on things – something that was clearly not backed outside Old Trafford and Anfield.
The 20 clubs have instead decided to pledge £50m to clubs in League One and Two to help secure the financial safety of the lower levels of the Football League.
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This seems to miss out Championship clubs but any agreement for them too would presumably be a controversial one given that some will already have parachute payments and larger income from television deals anyway.
The fact that Saints and the other current Premier League members have held their ground against United and Liverpool is a good sign.
English football should provide as many opportunities to clubs to join the top division as possible and they have to be able to put their points across. United and Liverpool’s past success means they have huge followings but that does not make them exclusive.
What is right from this scenario is that top-flight clubs share their wealth to keep other causes going.
That is not saying that Premier League teams are unaffected by the Coronavirus pandemic – Saints took out a £75m loan to maintain their cashflow whilst fans are not allowed at St Mary’s.
It is vital that clubs across the country at every level come out of this crisis and can still provide joy to fans for the long-term.