Bolton boss blasts ‘selfish’ rejected Project Big Picture plans

Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt felt the only positive aspect from the rejected Project Big Picture plans was the proposed financial help for clubs in the EFL but that overall the proposals were ‘probably the most selfish thing’ he had ever heard.

The top flight announced earlier this week that all 20 clubs unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture would not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or The FA.

The proposals had been driven by Liverpool and Manchester United and backed by EFL chairman Rick Parry.

Had the plans been adopted, a reduction in the number of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 18 would have taken place and there would have been an overall drop in the number of clubs in the top four divisions of English football from 92 to 90.

There would still be 24 clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two.

Changes would have been made to promotion and relegation across some of the divisions, but there would also be increased power granted to England’s ‘elite’ clubs and divided opinion

In terms of finances, a total of £250m would be granted to the EFL to make up for revenue lost due to the coronavirus pandemic both last season and this season.

In addition to this, 25% of future Premier League revenue would follow to the EFL and parachute payments would have been scrapped.

Since Project Big Picture was rejected, the Premier League made an offer of £50m in grants and interest-free loans to clubs in League One and League Two.

However, meetings with clubs and the EFL generated a strong consensus that any rescue package must meet the requirements of all 72 teams before it can be considered in full and that the conditional offer of £50m falls short of the expected lost revenue from gate receipts from this season and the final months of last season.

Bolton boss Evatt has now given his view on the rejected plans, the merit of which he felt was the financial help being offered to the EFL.

But he added that the plans were ‘probably the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard’ from those teams at the top of the football pyramid.

He said: “The positive spin on it is it looks like it’s going to get things moving in terms of help for the EFL, that’s the one positive that has probably inspired conversations to happen quicker than what they were looking like they were going to happen – so that’s one benefit.

“However, it was probably the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard. This is a game for everybody. It’s not just a game for the big six.

“This is a game which is a working class game which has got 92 Football League clubs and how many other clubs outside of the Football League as well that are the heartbeat of every community in this country.

“Why would we want to risk that or take that away, it just seems ridiculous and sometimes you have to remember where we’ve come from and these Man City’s that have got millions and billions and pounds and sit in…

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