Cash-strapped clubs in the English Football League (EFL) will grasp Manchester United and Liverpool's Project Big Picture proposals like a 'drowning man clutching a lifeline', it's been claimed today.
MP Damian Collins warns that the Big Picture proposals could delay a bailout for the EFL and force some clubs out of business, while risking a suspension of league matches
MP Damian Collins, who has been the principle advocate in Parliament for a support package for EFL clubs, fears the urgent need for short-term support due to the financial crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic will persuade some clubs to back Project Big Picture, even though it has been widely condemned as ruinous for English football.
The 72 English league clubs will discuss the proposals, which include controversial reforms such as reducing the number of Premier League teams to 18, giving the 'Big Six' clubs - United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham - an effective veto on governance decisions and a greater share of broadcast revenues, at a meeting on October 15.
'There are a lot of clubs thinking they will go bust,' said Mr Collins, who is a former chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
'There is no match revenue or bailout. It is like a drowning man clutching a lifeline. They may think: "If I can get money, I can keep going."
'A lot of League One and Two clubs will not be thinking of playing in the Premier League, they will be thinking of survival.
Teams in the EFL like Salford City and Tranmere in Sky Bet League Two have no match day income to sustain them because fans are banned from grounds under Covid-19 restrictions
'Linking reforms to making football more sustainable is right.,' added Mr Collins, who believes some aspects of the plan, such as improving financial accountability within the EFL make sense. 'It should be a serious discussion. Power grabs by a few clubs cannot be acceptable.'
The Big Picture plan offers an immediate £250 million bailout and an increase in the top flight's financial contribution to the lower divisions to around £700million a year.
Sportsmail understands that the EFL is aware of seven clubs that are struggling to pay wages in October and without a cash boost they will fail this month or next.
Many more are believed to be close to the brink, with the Covid-19 crisis cutting off matchday revenues while