Gary Neville to lead calls for independent regulation in football

Group to publish reform plans on Thursday after months of talks

Gary Neville has called for action to tackle the lack of diversity at boardroom level
Image: Gary Neville is part of a group which will publish their plans for reform in English football on Thursday

Gary Neville, Andy Burnham and ex-FA chairman David Bernstein are part of a group which will call for independent regulation of football as part of ongoing debates about its future.

The group will publish a plan on Thursday outlining a series of reforms following several months of discussions as the sport examines new methods of governance in the wake of the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Independent regulation has been consistently resisted by the Football Association and its member clubs but may now be a more attractive proposition with several lower-league clubs admitting they are at increasing risk of bankruptcy without gate receipts as football grounds remain closed to the public.

'Project Big Picture' proposals

  • Premier League reduced to 18 clubs
  • No EFL Cup or Community Shield
  • Special status for nine longest serving clubs - 'Big Six', Everton, West Ham, Southampton
  • Only six of the nine longest-serving clubs need to vote for major change
  • £250m immediate compensation for EFL
  • Figure also represents coronavirus financial bail-out
  • Club who finishes 16th in Premier League to replace sixth-placed Championship club in EFL play-offs
  • Premier League to commit 25 per cent of future revenue to EFL

The other members of the group are the Conservative MP and former sports minister Helen Grant, television presenter and former Olympic heptathlete Denise Lewis, Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, and sports lawyer Greg Scott.

Premier League clubs have rejected Project Big Picture but have agreed to create an emergency financial package for clubs in League One and League Two.

The clubs have also agreed to work as a "collective" and with transparency on any future plans that involve the structure or financial of English football.

EFL chairman Rick Parry and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters 3:20
Sky Sports News reporter James Cole explains the Premier League clubs' decision to reject Project Big Picture but to create an emergency financial package for clubs in League One and League Two

In a statement on Wednesday, the Premier League said: "All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or The FA.

Also See:

"Further, Premier League Shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid."

LAST CHANCE To Land The £1m!

LAST CHANCE To Land The £1m!

You read correctly. The £1m Super 6 jackpot is up for grabs for one last time this weekend. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.

Around Sky