Project Big Picture: Rick Parry should have approached Premier League directly, says Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow says EFL chairman Rick Parry should have approached the Premier League directly about Project Big Picture plans.

The proposals would give special status and preferred votes to the so-called big six clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham – with a £250m bailout and a re-distribution of money to EFL clubs in the future.

  • Overwhelming support’ from EFL – but not PL
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The EFL has confirmed the majority of its clubs support Project Big Picture plans following meetings with chairman Parry – but it is understood most Premier League clubs are against it.

Six Championship clubs have told Sky Sports News that if there is no financial bailout forthcoming they fear for the survival.

The 20 Premier League clubs are to discuss the issue in a video meeting on Wednesday.

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'Project Big Picture' proposals

Purslow says Parry should not have pursued a deal with selected top-flight clubs bypassing Premier League executives.

“As EFL chairman your job is to address that problems that the league face. Long before the pandemic it has been true that the Championship, League One and League Two are in extremely parlous financial situations,” he told Sky Sports News.

“It’s entirely reasonable that any chairman would try to address that. The right place to address those concerns is the front door of the Premier League, to the chairmen and chief executives.

“Everyone I know in English football understands that the Premier League is the beacon of excellence, any solution to the ills of football reside in the Premier League.

“If I was the EFL chairman that is where I would be discussing my plans, not with one or two clubs bypassing the Premier League executives.

“The right place for the long-term and short-term problems to be discussed is with the management of the Premier League.”

‘Current proposals will not get traction’

Purslow says he is concerned about potential changes to a successful Premier League model which could come from Project Big Picture, but believes the plan in its current form will fail to get traction.

“I don’t think we should give too much credence to this particular plan,” Purslow told BBC Radio 4.

“I think it is highly unlikely that this plan, as it has been described in public, is going to get much traction within the Premier League itself.

“I think a much broader, long-term plan for football is what I would expect to come from the Premier League.”

‘Unity of the league is its strength’

When asked if clubs like Aston Villa were being pushed into the proposals by their so-called bigger rivals, Purslow replied: “Not at all. This plan has come out in the media, it has not been discussed, it will be today.

“We have an effective mechanism for discussing things, all 20 clubs have an equal five per cent share in the league, we meet frequently. The unity of the league is its strength.

“After a healthy discussion we will see two things; everyone in the Premier League understands the short-term priority is to help cash problems further down the pyramid, over the long-term it will be a catalyst for a much broader discussion on the structure of English football.

“I feel strongly that we need to look at the relationship between the Premier League and the Championship and other long-standing issues which predate the pandemic.

“I think we will see a willingness to get those issues on a table. What is unusual about this project is that it is being discussed by the head of the EFL and two owners outside of the boardroom – that’s not the way I would have gone about it.”

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