American team owners are working to fundamentally change English soccer. Manchester United and Liverpool — owned by the Glazer Family and Fenway Sports Group, respectively — have introduced a Premier League reform plan, which aims to make the English soccer pyramid more sustainable.
Officials from the two influential teams have reportedly been discussing the proposals for years, but only recently brought it to the full slate of decision makers.
At the root of the timing is the coronavirus pandemic’s financial chaos, which has already resulted in millions of dollars in operating losses. The reform also aims to reduce risk-taking by second-tier clubs trying to earn the short-term financial rewards of promotion to the Premier League.
Key Changes Pitched:
- Reduce Premier League to 18 teams.
- Decision making would be limited to as many as nine elite teams in the league.
- $326 million to support the three professional divisions under the Premier League.
- $130 million to England’s Football Association to help mitigate coronavirus pandemic impacts.
- 25% of total income in the first season under the plan goes to lower divisions, as early as 2022-23.
- Potential financing of a women’s league outside the Premier League.