The Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’ are at odds with rivals over the long-awaited £130 million pyramid rescue package as a wealth-gap row reignites after the Everton crisis.
A meeting between the 20 top-tier shareholders on Tuesday will be the most consequential in years as clubs finally attempt to vote through their New Deal for the wider game.
However, amid increasingly febrile scenes after Everton’s 10-point deduction for spending breaches, tensions are resurfacing over whether the top clubs will be contributing enough to the bill. Telegraph Sport detailed a year ago how smaller clubs wanted the richest teams to accept a greater share, potentially through a transfer tax.
A transfer levy of sorts, in addition to the traditional formula of relating contributions strictly to prize money, now appears likely as a model is finalised on Tuesday.
However, while some insiders now insist that the New Deal is “on the runway” ahead of Tuesday’s vote, there remains a fierce divide behind the scenes over whether proposals are fair.
Several smaller clubs complain a sliding-scale payment system based on merit alone would leave them paying a much higher proportion of their revenue into the solidarity pot.
Manchester City, for instance, could be paying as little two per cent of their revenue, which could equate to around £15 million. That figure is dwarfed by club revenues soaring to a record £712.8 million this year, almost £100 million more than the season before.
A wider sense of unfairness is felt most at Everton, where executives are still reeling after the club was plunged into the relegation zone by an independent panel on Friday.
It has not been lost on the club that major teams who conspired in Project Big Picture and the European Super League breakaway plots previously went unpunished.
In a reference to unresolved spending inquiries into Chelsea and City, Everton wrote on Friday that “the club will also monitor with great interest the decisions made in any other cases concerning the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules”.
Everton fans build a fighting fund
The club’s fans will be making their own noise in the coming days, having raised over £30,000 for a fighting fund to stage a protest at Goodison Park next weekend.
Fans are making banners, flags and leaflets to show their anger amid a hostile atmosphere for a fixture against Manchester United which will be on Sky Sports on Sunday.
A GoFundMe page set up by the The1878s Fan Group, which has a target to raise £50,000, says: “We have plans in motion regarding banners and flags against the Independent Commission’s quite frankly, disgraceful and nonsensical decision to deduct the club 10 points. If anyone would like to help, we will release more information in due course. Any more donated will go towards making Goodison Park atmosphere as hostile and electric as it can be at a pivotal time for Everton Football Club. We won’t take this lying down. F--- the Premier League.”
The Everton situation has prompted MPs to pile renewed pressure on the Premier League to finally announce the New Deal this week after years of talks. The league’s main priority is to ward off a more restrictive model under the new independent regulator in English football which was outlined in the King’s Speech earlier this month. Dame Caroline Dinenage, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the Everton verdict illustrated “that the status quo cannot continue”.
Big Six at odds with rival clubs
The most likely scenario remains that the model for paying for the New Deal remains strictly merit-related rather than connected with any transfer tax.
United, City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have often been at odds with the other clubs over how the new solidarity system should be paid for.
Last year they were outvoted after initially proposing those playing in Europe should not have to contribute more and each club’s contribution should strictly mirror their Premier League income.
Small and medium-sized clubs successfully argued then for income from Europe, particularly the Champions League, to be part of the equation. But there is still a feeling that the wealthiest teams should be paying more.
The Telegraph reported on Sunday how top clubs are also set to be handed a greater proportion of prize money, with the existing 1.6 to one ratio increasing to 1.8 to one from 2025-26.
Other matters to be dealt with on Tuesday include a vote on fast-tracking a ban on loans between associated clubs ahead of the January transfer window. Clubs are also expected to be updated on the league’s negotiations for a new domestic TV rights deal, after executives began the tender process last month.