Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

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Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani calls Project Big Picture a ‘disgrace’

2 min read

Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani has labelled Project Big Picture a ‘disgrace’ and reminded the owners of Liverpool and Manchester United they have already profited hugely from the Premier League.

Radrizzani has become the first top-flight owner to speak out against the controversial plans that would have seen enhanced powers for the ‘Big Six’ clubs in exchange for a financial bail-out of the EFL.

The 20 Premier League clubs rejected the Project Big Picture proposals following a meeting on Wednesday after they were put forward by Liverpool and Man United and supported by EFL chief Rick Parry.

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has branded Project Big Picture proposals a 'disgrace'

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has branded Project Big Picture proposals a ‘disgrace’

Radrizzani's Leeds United returned to the Premier League after 16 years away this season

Radrizzani’s Leeds United returned to the Premier League after 16 years away this season

‘I believe what happened is really a disgrace, and for many reasons,’ Radrizzani told The Times.

‘I would like to remind the clubs that tried to do this via the back door and in a non-transparent way that the value of their clubs has grown significantly, perhaps four or five times their investment, since they bought thanks to the fantastic job of the Premier League executive and also thanks to the union of the clubs working together.

‘The success of the Premier League is driven by this unity and the success of the clubs in working together, so if this is attacked and someone is trying to dismantle it we need to strongly defend it.’

Liverpool owner John W Henry (left) helped draw up the controversial shake-up plans

Liverpool owner John W Henry (left) helped draw up the controversial shake-up plans 

Joel Glazer, owner of Manchester United, was also an architect in the radical proposals

Joel Glazer, owner of Manchester United, was also an architect in the radical proposals

Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, supported the proposals because of a £250m bail-out for clubs

Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, supported the proposals because of a £250m bail-out for clubs

Leeds, who were bought by Italian businessman Radrizzani in 2017, have just returned to the Premier League after 16 years away.

Radrizzani also questioned why Parry became involved in the Project Big Picture plans, which included a £250million bailout for the EFL as well as a share of future revenues, when the US investment company TPG Capital had offered them £375m for a 20 per cent stake.

However, as Sportsmail revealed on Saturday, Radrizzani’s involvement in the TPG buy-out had raised concerns within the EFL.

Though Radrizzani has no financial stake in the private equity firm, he did make introductions.

It sparked concerns at the EFL over potential conflicts of interest given the Italian owns a club that were in the Championship just four months ago as well as the television network Eleven Sports that holds rights to broadcast the Premier League elsewhere in Europe.

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