'Project Big Picture' struck at heart of game's core values - Palace chairman

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Everton - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - August 10, 2019 Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish in the stands before the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

(Reuters) - Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish has described the Premier League as an "amazing product" and tinkering with its structures and finances will only be at the peril of clubs.

Premier League clubs on Wednesday rejected "Project Big Picture" plans put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United that would have increased funding for the 72 English Football League (EFL) teams but also included special voting rights for the biggest sides in the top flight.

"Of course we should always consider ways to improve the game and this plan has some ideas of merit. But we already have an amazing product and in my view we tinker with it at our peril," Parish wrote in his column https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/sport/steve-parish-why-we-had-to-say-no-to-project-big-picture-tmj5xg36l for The Sunday Times.

"Many of Project Big Picture's proposals strike at the heart of football's core value - namely that outcomes are decided on merit and success.

"The founders of the Premier League understood and devised a constitution that prevented radical, ill-considered change."

The plan fronted by EFL Chairman Rick Parry would have included a 250 million pound ($322.83 million) bail-out for his clubs, which are facing financial issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A separate, broader-based review by the entire league has been initiated with a more limited bail-out for lower division clubs.

"While I represent Crystal Palace around the table I'm acutely aware we are also a proxy for the 72 English Football League clubs and we have a duty of care to the game in everything we do," Parish said.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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