Preston North End's Peter Ridsdale 'broadly welcomes' some of the Project Big Picture proposals

Peter Ridsdale says elements of the Project Big Picture are ‘broadly welcomed’ by Preston North End.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 12:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 3:19 pm
Peter Ridsdale, representative of PNE owner Trevor Hemmings
Peter Ridsdale, representative of PNE owner Trevor Hemmings

The ideas proposed by Liverpool and Manchester United have caused plenty of debate since being leaked at the weekend.

If agreed, the Premier League would be reduced to 18 clubs, with the greatest share of power handed to the ‘big six’ of Liverpool, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham.

That would replace the one club, one vote agreement on which the Premier League was formed in 1992.

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It’s a redistribution of money to clubs in the EFL, with them being linked in to the top flight’s television deal which attracts PNE and some other EFL clubs.

However, the project is meeting much resistance from within the Premier League itself and from other EFL clubs.

Ridsdale said: “It is early days but my personal view and I believe Preston North End’s view, would be to broadly welcome what is on the table but recognise there are still elements which need further talk and debate.

“We have been advocating for some time about too much cash going to the Premier League and not enough to the Football League.”

The proposals on the table include Championship clubs getting £23m a year compared to the £7.3 solidarity payment currently in place.

But the Championship would lose a play-off place, with the 16th placed side in the Premier League going into the play-offs with the clubs who finish third, fourth and fifth in the Championship.

“If someone said the trade off for going from £7.3m to £23m a season was losing a play-off place, I think that is fair game,” said Ridsdale who is the representative of PNE owner Trevor Hemmings.

“I like to think this is all open to debate. The problem is, everyone is asking the question about one element of a lengthy proposal.

“There is 90% of the proposition which looks very good for me, particularly sitting where we are in the Championship.

“It’s almost like it is all or nothing but that is not my experience of now negotiation takes places.

“You put on the table where you think you might get to with an end game in mind and you try to make your best way there. It is rare that there is no debate.”

Ridsdale admits to 'misgivings' about the plans for the 'big six' to take the greater share of the vote, with Everton, Southampton and West Ham also getting more of a say than the rest of the Premier League.

For many people, that is regarded as something of a land grab by the top clubs.

"I can understand why there are misgivings in the Premier League because it would appear to me that it gives six clubs the ability at any moment in time to restructure to suit their own needs," said Ridsdale.

"I find that surprising and worrying. You have 20 clubs in the Premier League, the proposal is for 18.

"There is no rational for having an undemocratic method of changing the rules.

"It is rare you join any organisation and are treated differently to another member.

"Those clubs who have recently been promoted to the Premier League should have the same rights and say as anyone else.

"The issue you have got with the top six is that they haven't always been the top six and won't always be in the future."