Backlash! Premier League STRIP Big Six clubs of key positions on their committees as they move to kill off Project Big Picture reforms which were set to hand more power and money to the elite
- The Premier League have stripped owners of ‘Big Six’ clubs from their key roles
- The six top-flight sides announced they were joining a European Super League
- The Super League project flopped after 48 hours due to widespread disapproval
- Some Liverpool fans have called for owner John W Henry to now stand aside
The Premier League backlash against the Big Six rebels began on Wednesday with representatives of the clubs kicked out of key positions within the league.
The organisation will also use their position of power to demand the rebel clubs recommit to the top flight’s existing structure and collective approach to TV rights sales as the price for their aborted attempt to join the European Super League.
In the first punishments, the Big Six will be stripped of their positions on key committees and working groups, with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters asking their representatives to step down on Wednesday.
Premier League chief Richard Masters has asked Big Six owners to step down from their top-flight committee roles
On a day when supporters’ groups also demanded change in the leadership of their clubs, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck suffered further embarrassment when he was told to relinquish his position on the Premier League’s nominations and remuneration committee where he had been a key lieutenant to former executive chairman Richard Scudamore.
Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano and Arsenal’s Vinai Venkatesham have been taken off the Club Strategic Advisory Group which has been tasked with a strategic review.
The Premier League are also seeking the removal of Liverpool’s Tom Werner and Manchester United chief Ed Woodward from the Broadcast Advisory Group.
The Premier League want Liverpool’s Tom Werner and Manchester United’s Ed Woodward off the Broadcast Advisory board
Although there are a range of opinions among the 14 clubs on how severely to come down on the rebels, there is an acceptance that the ESL plans were developed by absentee foreign owners, rather than club employees, and that as a result sporting sanctions would be inappropriate.
Rather than hitting the rebels with sanctions such as fines or points deductions, Sportsmail has learned that the remaining 14 clubs are planning to focus on effectively killing off the Premier League’s Strategic Review — which was launched in the wake of the previous Big Six power grab six months ago.
The Big Six had planned to use the review to force through elements of the Project Big Picture proposals developed by Liverpool and United, including reducing the Premier League to 18 teams and giving clubs who have been in the top flight the longest greater voting power and a bigger share of TV rights, but such hopes are now dead.
The other 14 clubs are planning to focus on killing off the Premier League’s Strategic Review
Instead, the rebel clubs are under pressure to reaffirm their commitment to a collective bargaining approach, particularly around broadcast deals and equitable revenue sharing.
They may be asked to sign legally binding undertakings that they will not seek to enter unauthorised competitions in future.
There remains considerable anger in the Premier League at the rebels despite the relief at the ESL folding so promptly, not least because their actions have raised the unwanted prospect of Government regulation.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed yesterday that the so-called ‘fan-led review’ announced on Monday would still take place, which could lead to the Government enforcing a version of the German model where some element of supporter oversight of clubs is mandatory.
UEFA are under pressure after putting forward their Champions League reforms from 2024
The FA are also understood to be talking to the Government about preventing a similar breakaway threat occurring again, which could involve changes to competition law.
UEFA are under pressure to reverse some of the concessions made to the big clubs in the Champions League reforms announced earlier this week, specifically the plan to award two of the 36 places in the so-called Swiss model that will begin in 2024 on the basis of historical European performances.
The removal of the breakaway threat has emboldened the other clubs to lobby for a rethink by UEFA, which they conceded was possible when confirming the new format on Monday.
UEFA thanked the FA’s Mark Bullingham for English football’s role in stopping the Super League
UEFA have written to the FA chief executive Mark Bullingham thanking the English game for helping to bring down the Super League. After a statement condemning the proposals, the FA have been central to the battle against the breakaway and were involved in facilitating key talks between Boris Johnson and Masters on Tuesday.
Certainly the fans were still scenting blood. About a hundred gathered outside Tottenham’s stadium before last night’s game against Southampton. ‘Thanks for NO memories’ read one of the banners.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said the positions of Buck and chief executive Guy Laurence were ‘untenable’ and a banner outside Anfield hit out at Liverpool’s owners, saying: ‘Our club, our history… enough is enough! FSG Out!’