The English Football League, alongside Manchester United and Liverpool football clubs, has proposed a radical plan called ‘Project Big Picture’ which they say will save the EFL’s finances.

The English Football League is the body which represents the clubs below the Premier League in League One, Two and Three.

Among the proposals of the project are dropping the number of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 18, and scrapping the English Football League cup as well as the Community Shield.

In return, the EFL would then get 25% of all future TV deals, which would be negotiated jointly, as well as a £250m bailout. £100m would be paid to the Football Association to make up for lost revenue.

EFL clubs which have not been able to welcome fans to stadiums have struggled financially, moreso than those in the Premier League which receive money from broadcasting TV deals. Restrictions on live attendance to sport events has reduces ticket revenue.

The proposal is backed by English Football League chairman Rick Parry, who said: “This is two of our great clubs showing leadership and exercising responsibility. The message from Liverpool and Manchester United is that they do genuinely care about the pyramid [of lower-league football].”

The Premier League released a statement taking a stand against the proposal, which it says “could have a devastating impact on the whole game.” It went on to add: “Football has many stakeholders, therefore this work should be carried out through the proper channels enabling all clubs and stakeholders the opportunity to contribute.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said, in a statement, that t was “surprised and disappointed” by “backroom deals being cooked up.” Culture secretary Oliver Dowden added: “The challenge facing football is ensuring particularly the EFL has the resources to enable its clubs to survive. This deal does not command support throughout the Premier League at all.”