The Effects of Premier League Reform

The proposed Premier League reform, code-named Operation Big Picture, surprised nearly all of England’s soccer clubs and their supporters. Operation Big Picture was the creation of  John W. Henry, owner of Liverpool FC and Joel Glazer, the owner of Manchester United. To the frustration of many, Chairman of the English Football League (EFL) Rick Parry was involved in the discussions, without sharing details with the three professional divisions under the Premier League that his organisation is responsible for. The reform suggests reducing the size of England’s top division to ensure more funds reach lower-league teams.

Reduction in Premier League

The effects of the reform if implemented would see two teams dropped from the Premier League with more power falling into the hands of the country’s richest teams. The plans, which require the backing of 14 teams before it can be implemented, was leaked on 11 October and three days later the Premier League said its members would not endorse the proposal for the nine longest-serving top-flight clubs to have preferential votes to control the running of premier games, in return for giving 25 per cent of future Premier League revenue to lower league clubs.

Betting on the Premier League

The impact of the reforms will not affect punters in the short-term. Currently, all 380 matches in a Premier League season will offer live odds, with the potential for hundreds of in-play bets including the name of the next or last scorer or the next player to receive a red card. The number of bookies sign up offers are likely to remain high with most sportsbooks offering a range of offers. In-play betting demands patience but worth a wait for a potential better-than-average payout.

Support from lower leagues

Whilst the Premier League has rejected Operation Big Picture, its members have agreed to discuss key points that have been raised in the reform to include changes how competitions are managed, broadcast agreements and financial management that have funded the Premier League since its launch in 1992, and which has made it the richest domestic football league globally. The proposed reforms have been strongly supported by many clubs in the lower divisions who do not expect to ever play in the top leagues, as it would give them funds that they desperately need to survive to the end of the year.

Accusations of opportunism

Outside of the lower leagues, most reject the plan, accusing Manchester United, Liverpool and the other clubs that make up the top nine clubs, being Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton (who been in the Premier League with Liverpool and Manchester United since 1992) plus Manchester City, Southampton and West Ham which are the three longest-serving Premier League teams, of opportunism, since they would gain most from the reforms whilst teams aiming for promotion to the Premier League would suffer financially.

The reforms would allow the top nine ‘long-term shareholders’ to have voting rights to pass and veto certain new rules, including the approval of broadcasting deals and the distribution of broadcast revenues. The clubs could also veto proposed new club owners. However, the disagreements are not expected to split the Premier League or the EFL.

Other changes proposed

There would only be two automatic promotion places from the Championship with the next three teams in the table entering a play-off with the side that finishes 16th in the Premier League. The reform also proposes the scrapping of the 60-year old League Cup, and the Community Shield.

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