Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool would be allowed to claim back significant sums for the costs of their respective stadium projects as part of Project Big Picture, a new proposal to revamp professional football in England that is being driven by Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Telegraph, which first reported the news of Project Big Picture on Sunday, has reported that Tottenham could claim back around £125m (€138m/$163m) for the costs of its state-of-the-art new stadium, which opened last year and was built at a price of more than £1bn.
The report adds that Liverpool could claim back around £30m from the renovation of Anfield’s Main Stand in 2016, which increased the stadium’s capacity by 9,000 to 54,000.
The wide-ranging Project Big Picture plans, which are being driven by Premier League rivals Liverpool and United, would see the top tier of English football reduced from 20 teams to 18, with the proposal also including a £250m bailout of the English Football League (EFL), whose clubs have been significantly hit by COVID-19.
The proposals would also see the Community Shield and EFL Cup competitions axed, while nine current clubs – United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Everton, West Ham United and Southampton – would be afforded special voting rights.
Project Big Picture has been supported by EFL chairman Rick Parry but the Premier League has expressed its opposition to the plans, stating that a number of the individual proposals could have a “damaging impact on the whole game”.
The Telegraph has now reported more details of how the proposals would impact clubs’ stadium projects, with Premier League teams to set aside £150m a year from central funds for subsidising ground improvements. The report added that clubs will be eligible to apply for up to £250m of subsidies for “hard costs” of new stadium projects if they have been in the Premier League for 12 of the last 15 years.
Clubs that have been in the Premier League for eight of the last 10 seasons will be eligible for a maximum of £150m, while a £100m cap will be in place for clubs that have spent the last four seasons in the top flight.
The proposal also cites Manchester City, which in 2015 expanded the capacity of its Etihad Stadium, and Brighton & Hove Albion, which moved into the Amex Stadium in 2011, as clubs that would be eligible for “assistant payments”.
The proposal said: “Any club which has an eligible project that was completed in the last 10 years … and with a minimum spend of £50m per project receives 50 per cent of the assistant payments they would be eligible to receive under this program for 15 years (eg Tottenham, Liverpool, Man [sic] City and Brighton) resulting in a total of 25 per cent of the capital improvement.”
Liverpool is planning a further expansion of Anfield and hopes to add around 7,000 seats to the stadium’s Anfield Road Stand. The project is expected to cost £60m and the Telegraph notes that the Project Big Picture proposal would allow the club to claim back half of this figure.
Liverpool’s cross-city rival Everton could also benefit from the proposal, with the club planning on moving to a new £500m, 52,000-seat stadium on Bramley Moore Dock.
Image: Tottenham Hotspur