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Premier League reduction to 18 teams met by criticism and resistance from government

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Proposals from Liverpool, Manchester United and the Football League (EFL) for major changes to the structure of the Premier League were met with swift criticism from England’s top flight on Sunday and the UK government and fans.

Liverpool and United are backing a plan to radically change the Premier League’s structure, giving more power to the big clubs, reducing it from 20 clubs to 18 for the 2022-23 season and scrapping the League Cup and Community Shield.

The plan would see the Premier League commit to providing 25% of the league’s revenue to Football League (EFL) clubs and a 250 million-pound rescue fund to help with the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The plans, dubbed “Project Big Picture”, have been put together by Liverpool’s American owners Fenway Sports Group, with support from United’s Florida-based owners the Glazer family.

Manchester United and Liverpool did not respond to a request for comment.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said the reforms were needed to address “a chasm which has become unbridgeable” between the second tier and the Premier League.

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