Richard Masters responds to European Super League and Project Big Picture fears – Chronicle Live

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Richard Masters is confident the Premier League will remain a 20-team competition despite talk of a potential shake-up of European and domestic football.

UEFA is currently considering reformatting the Champions League from 2024, and a clutch of Europe’s elite clubs have threatened to break away and form their own ‘Super League’.

The latest plans come after the proposal dubbed ‘Project Big Picture’ – which called for an 18-team Premier League and the scrapping of the EFL Cup and Community Shield – was rejected last year

Masters admits ‘nothing is off the table’ with the organisation’s strategic review currently ongoing.

However, the Premier League’s chief executive does not believe the latest talk of reform will lead to a reduction of teams in the top-flight.

Speaking at the Business of Football Summit, Masters said: “As part of the strategic view, if you’re taking a ten-year view of things everything should be discussed.

«But at the moment, we’re halfway through our cycle and we have been a 20-club competition since 1995. That is the favoured model across Europe save for the Bundesliga, who have one cup competition, and 18-team league and a big winter break.

«The English football calendar is jam-packed with excellent, exciting football I would say but I’m biased. At the moment and for the foreseeable future, the Premier League is a 20-club competition.

«It is way too early to discuss what the outputs of our strategic review might be, but it’s not going to happen without the input of all our clubs, the stakeholder partners, the FA, the EFL as well as many more including fan groups.

«Nothing is off the table, and we’re discussing all aspects of the game.”

Newcastle United were represented in a Premier League shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, where clubs voted against plans for a so-called ‘Swiss Model’ reform of the Champions League.

The proposals would have seen the competition expand to 36 teams, and would form one league with fixtures determined by UEFA club coefficient rankings.

The additional four entries will likely be determined by these historic standings in a move that has drawn criticism.

Masters would not be drawn on the specifics of these reforms, but did stress concerns about potential access and qualification for the competititon.

The chief executive added: «Any Super League proposal I’ve read or heard about doesn’t have access via domestic leagues, or if it does it’s at the bottom end of the pyramid.

«That would be destructive to the value of domestic football across Europe, not just the Premier League.

“From the Premier League’s perspective, there’s been a really strong mutually beneficial relationship between our league, our domestic cup competitions and European football.

«We’ve grown up together, there’s been a strong symbiotic relationship and it’s about creating the right balance.

«Our key principles is to protect weekends when domestic league football is played, and about access to make sure qualifications for those big competitions is principally through domestic leagues and cup competitions.

«The Premier League isn’t resistant to change, but we’re looking for a continuation of a very strong relationship between European and domestic football that doesn’t tip the balance one way or the other.”

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