Episode One: Confusing to look at, confusing to understand, this headline has more clarity and less deceit than the proposal landing on desks this week.
There are so many issues to discuss within Project Big Picture it’s really difficult to know where to start! The infiltration of US Sport into the UK Economy, the potential European ‘break-away’, the EFL ‘care package’, the ‘cloak and dagger’ methodology, the shadiness of it all being discussed behind scenes to resolve an issue of multi-billionaires whilst the rest of the country – nee WORLD – struggles to build any form of economic growth at all. Say hello to the money hungry cunts in the Premier League.
Oops! I may have let slip some bias within my final statement there… let’s try that again… Let’s investigate Project Big Picture.
For the purpose of this article, I’m only going to focus on three areas: Parachute Payments & Rescue Funds as part one and Special Voting Rights as part two.
Parachute Payments and Rescue Funds
For me, this disinformation has been handled exceptionally. Its Goebbels level stuff. First, you push the economically unhealthy into a position of catastrophe, a situation so dire they are in need of emergency funding. Okay, so the Premier League did not instigate Covid-19 (or did they? No, no they didn’t) but they are now in a position of such extreme authority they will have wished it had been them. The EFL, the National League, Grassroots football – all in so much financial insecurity that it’s part expected each division from here to the end of time will lose at least one club to complete dust. They’re fucked.
It’s now time to dangle a carrot in front of the EFL and lower league clubs… “Hey guys, we have the EXACT money you need to be bailed out…” Coincidence? Pffft. Not likely. “…All you need to do is sign
your life away this new agreement”. Oooh… History tells us anyone who declares such an ultimatum ONLY has your welfare to heart… it screams of being dirty. Then couple that up with another request they have. The EFL want to scrap Parachute Payments to relegated Premier League teams as it creates an unfair advantage for those teams within the EFL structure that skews fair competition for teams coming up the table. BINGO! Do you know why bingo? Because by scrapping those payments, the Premier League will save approximately £250m per year – the SAME figure being provided to the EFL as a “rescue package” – the same figure approximately as the 25% being promised to the EFL from future television rights deals.
The Premier League have attempted to come riding in on a white / black / colour-self-identifying horse to the rescue of the EFL, but underhandedly re-routing existing finances so they’re doing little to nothing to rescue them at all. KAPOW! That is some seriously effective military manoeuvring that can only come with the experience of extreme capitalism… oh hi there Fenway Sports Group and Joel Glazer! It’s no coincidence these capitalists are all over this proposal. And here’s why.
Special Voting Rights
The US economy, industry, education, national rifle association… so many of their bodies, positions of power, have been built to cyclically support and maintain power amongst themselves. There is little room to allow progression, growth and diversity. Their whole country (much like we are discovering about ours) is stemmed in an ‘Old Boys’ Club’ where the rich get richer and the poor inevitably die. In Sport particularly, the rich get richer, and the poor expend the majority of their earnings to follow their team just to have something to live for. Witness US Sports and you see a body of people who put their lives on the line AS FANS because it’s their religion.
The basis for being able to do this in US Sports, is franchise sports – no promotions or relegations, no player power due to salary caps, no fish outgunning the other due to shared merchandising revenue. The whole system is skewed to benefit the pockets of the owners and shareholders, and finding more opportunities to increase revenue – NOT improving the game. It’s a level of control that allows them to insist that Colin Kapaernick is banned from all NFL football for making a political stance – a stance that hurt their share value so they had to remove him.
Soccer has had these issues for a long time. G14 – the largest teams in Eurpoe – have been holding UEFA and FIFA to ransom for years, ensuring all “fair” sport is actually skewed in their favour. Group stages guarantee revenue. Two legged knockout rounds offer more reliability to the big teams. Seeded draws are to support the big teams. UEFA cannot move without G14 making demands. For years we have tried to negotiate with those teams to prevent a European break-away – a European Super League.
Project Big Picture is attempting to implement this within – not just the Premier League – but the whole football ladder and Football Association. They have demanded ‘Special Voting Rights’ for the Big 6 (Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool) plus long-term Premier League teams Everton, Southampton and West Ham. DIRTY FUCKING TACTICS. Why have they done this?!
Current Premier League rules dictate that decisions can only be made with a majority of 14 teams deciding on a matter. This number has not come about by chance – it’s the counter-weight to the Big 6 making decisions for themselves. Those in charge have considered the position of the additional three teams and waged that by including them in Special Voting Rights, they may be able to swing the vote their way. It’s a classic move by the mega elite to the middle man… If you look after the middle man just enough, they will follow the elite to avoid becoming the peasants. Consider this though… The Big 6 are looking after the Middle 3, not to fight off the remaining 11… Oh no… they’re fighting off the remaining 11 Premier League clubs, 72 EFL clubs, 48 National League clubs, and all Grassroots football. The mega rich Big 6 that own all domestic trophies already, are trying to own it all.
With their improved Special Voting Rights, we may never get to debate these ideas again. We will not even be privy to a discussion having taken place. This week we saw a vote take place on whether to implement Pay-per-view Premier League football. In the future, post Big Picture Project, the Big 9 will be able to implement what they want, whenever they want. Do you know what that could lead to? How about franchise football? Moving Chelsea out of London because they can build a 120,000 seater stadium there – half the money – double the capacity – and the Midlands is missing a major football side.
The idea that the bigger more powerful members of the Premier League could suddenly have more power, and over the whole Football League, is not a situation that bodes well for the future of the beautiful game. The proposal has its benefits, there’s definitely some good in there – but it’s pitched against the ultimate bad – the potential for break-away football – and we need strong discipline and leadership to ensure we do not sign our life away for the sake of the short term money.
Football will find a way once Covid has gone. We will lose some football teams, we will bankrupt some businesses. But football belongs in the hands of the fans, and once the stadia and the bank accounts are gone – football itself will remain, and the passion for kicking a ball about will not disappear from the community. However if we follow blindly into the powerhouse’s ambitions – well fuck, we’ve already starting losing our soul within football – we’ll be signing it all over to the ‘rich, white man’ that has dominated all industry globally.