Government chief fires warning over Premier League and EFL spat

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has warned the Government could take action unless the Premier League and the English Football League are able to come to an agreement to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Dowden said he was "quite sceptical" about the Project Big Picture plan unveiled at the weekend.

Project Big Picture, the brainchild of Liverpool and Manchester United, includes plans to reduce the Premier League to 18 teams, giving greater power to the 'big six' and abolishing the League Cup and Community Shield.

It also proposes EFL clubs will receive an immediate £250million rescue package and a 25 per cent future annual share of Premier League revenue.

"If we keep having these backroom deals and all these other things going on we will have to look again at the underlying governance of football," he told Sky News.

"We promised in the ( general election ) manifesto a fan-led review and I must say the events I have seen the past few weeks have made this seem more urgent again.

"Unless the clubs and the Premier League and the EFL can get together urgently in order to support the game through this difficult period of time it does raise genuine questions about the governance of the sport."

EFL chairman Rick Parry has defended radical plans to overhaul the English top flight after they were criticised by the Government and the Premier League.

Parry insists Project Big Picture has been designed "for the greater good of English football", offering the best chance of securing the future of clubs outside the top flight.

Salford co-owner and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville said on Monday "there is too much good in this plan to dismiss it" and added on Twitter however many Premier League clubs are unhappy should be worked with.

"There are parts of the proposal that require negotiation," he said. "Let's get round the table please PL/EFL/FA/FSF. If it suits 9 PL clubs and maybe 72 EFL clubs then let's work with the other 11."

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