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“Project Big Picture” could reimburse Tottenham £125m for new stadium construction

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That’s a really, really big carrot.

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Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - General Views Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

There’s tons of discussion right now about “Project Big Picture,” the proposal to dramatically reshape the English football pyramid going forward that is spearheaded by Manchester United and Liverpool. The proposal promises a big short term cash bailout to the EFL and increased profit sharing from TV revenue, but at the cost of consolidating power to a cohort of the biggest and most powerful Premier League clubs, including all of the current “Big Six.”

Not surprisingly, while there’s a lot to like if you’re a cash-strapped small club in the Championship or EFL that is sweating the current financial situation under COVID-19, there’s also a ton of sweetheart deals for the biggest and richest clubs in English football. Among those is this: according to the Telegraph (£), a clause in the current proposal would retroactively rebate clubs for costs associated with stadium builds and renovations over the past decade.

Under the “infrastructure funds” of the PBP document, the Premier League clubs will set aside £150 million per year from central funds for subsidising stadium improvements with what it calls “assistance payments”. Clubs will be able to apply for “assistance payments” for up to £250 million of subsidies for the “hard costs” of new stadium buildings – less costs such as land acquisition and professional fees – if they have been in the league for 12 of the last 15 years.

— The Telegraph

This benefits Tottenham Hotspur in two ways. It would (gradually) reimburse Spurs £125m for the construction of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a hugely significant sum and more than 10% of its total reported construction cost.

The clause would also help Liverpool, one of the co-sponsors of the proposal, to the tune of £30m for the construction of their new main stand at Anfield. It would also hugely benefit clubs like Manchester City and Brighton, who recently finished stadium builds, but also Everton, who is planning a new £500m stadium, as well as Leicester City. However, since the proposal is retroactive to the past decade, it means that Arsenal would not benefit as the Emirates was finished 14 years ago.

This is very, VERY obviously a sweetener thrown in to try and get Tottenham (and other clubs rich enough to fund new and recent stadium-related constructions) on board with Project Big Picture in general, and quite honestly it’s pretty gross if you’re opposed to the idea of the Big Six doing a major power grab during a time of crisis. It does, however, screw over Arsenal and if you’re just in it for the #banter that’s kind of funny.

This clause is in the current “Big Picture” proposal, which is the 18th version of it, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll pass in its current form. But if you were wondering what else was in this proposal that would make Tottenham Hotspur even more likely to go along with it, this is a pretty big example.