Premier League can’t give blank cheque to EFL – chief executive Richard Masters

By Jonathan Veal, PA
·3-min read

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says there can be no “blank cheque” to bail out the EFL.

The Premier League is in negotiations with the EFL over a financial package to ensure no clubs go out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic, though an agreement has not been reached.

“The Premier League has engaged and wants to seek resolution but there can’t be a blank cheque or an underwriting of losses,” Masters said while giving evidence at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee meeting.

EFL chairman Rick parry has been in talks with the Premier League
EFL chairman Rick parry has been in talks with the Premier League (House of Commons/PA)

“We believe our proposal is appropriate and goes to the heart of the problem and is in line with Government policy on how it deals with other sectors.

“We believe we are stepping up and helping the pyramid of football, we have yet to reach an agreement with Rick (EFL chairman Rick Parry) but I am confident we can do that.

“I don’t think our proposals are pitiful. We can make money available now to clubs that need it and we can work with the EFL to ensure that funds were going to the right places to ensure clubs don’t suffer distress or get to the point of administration.

“We are huge supporters of the pyramid and understand its importance.”

Masters confirmed that the Premier League will be “changing direction” away from pay-per-view.

The decision to broadcast several games behind an additional paywall has been hugely criticised and the Premier League will change tack.

“We took a decision to move to pay-per-view and now we are reviewing that decision,” Masters added.

“We have listened to feedback, we will be changing direction and moving away from it and taking another step that will see us through lockdown, the Christmas period and into January. I can’t announce what it is.”

The Premier League has been showing some games on a PPV basis
The Premier League has been showing some games on a PPV basis (Carl Recine/PA)

EFL chairman Parry hopes a deal with the Premier League can be agreed by the end of the month.

Asked by Julian Knight MP whether that would be the case, Parry replied: “I think now we have a commitment that the Championship is going to be embraced we can move forwards. We sincerely hope so.

“We would very much like to come to a deal with the Premier League.”

In the wake of Project Big Picture, the Premier League is carrying out its own strategic review and Masters said “change is coming”.

Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
The Premier League is looking to evolve (Shaun Botterill/PA)

“We were also contemplating our own strategic review, then the pandemic came and changed everything,” Masters said.

“What we have announced in the last two weeks is a revival of our strategic review but with a tighter timeframe and wider focus to deal with all of the issues which have come up during the pandemic.

“I think the status quo is very unlikely to be unifying or the right way forward so I think change is coming. But change needs to be delivered with the development of all clubs. All stakeholders need to be involved.

“While Project Big Picture came up during the middle of this, all of our 20 clubs support strategic review. There are multiple plans in existence.

“I think change is coming but it needs to be agreed. We hope to complete by the end of March.”