The Premier League super-powers are looking to push EFL clubs into a position where they can do nothing but succumb to their ‘Project Big Picture’ proposals.

That’s the view of Rovers Trust chairman John Murray who says the bargaining tools being used by the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ are simply ‘opportunism’.

While the proposals promise an immediate £250m rescue package for EFL clubs starved of income by the coronavirus pandemic and a fairer share of top-flight revenue in the future, there are several controversial aspects.

They include a reduction in the Premier League to 18 teams, greater power given to the so-called ‘big six’ with the removal of equal voting rights, the abolition of the League Cup and Community Shield, as well as greater flexibility between top flight clubs loaning players to counterparts in the EFL.

The idea has come about based upon discussions between Liverpool and Manchester United, and has drawn support, interestingly from EFL chairman Rick Parry. He in turn has been criticised by the bosses at the Premier League, with many clubs having learned about the proposals through a national newspaper article.

As Murray puts it: “It all seemed pretty exclusive and that they had all done it pretty quietly.”

However, he did concede: “As with anything I think you have to look at what is good about it rather than immediately take the keyboard warrior view and there is lots of good stuff.

“Parachute payments being put into a fund and removing the league cup and Community Shield, well no-one takes those seriously.

“I like the idea of 25 per cent of income going to EFL clubs, the Football League rejected 20 per cent in 1992 when the Premier League first came in.

“So there are some good things in there, but not in a crisis. It screams of opportunism.”

One thing he would like to see, after Premier League spent a combined £1.2billion on players, is a levy on transfer fees similar to that of stamp duty, first proposed by Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt.

There are supporters of the plans among the EFL clubs, with Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley among those to back the proposals, as interestingly, has chairman Parry. That could make for an interesting meeting this week when representatives of each member club meet to discuss the proposals.

Rovers CEO Steve Waggott this month called on three parties, the Premier League, the Government and the Football Association, to come together and provide a rescue package for the 72 EFL clubs, and National League sides, whose revenue streams have been left decimated by the lack of supporters at matches, but ‘Project Big Picture’ is currently the only deal on the table.

Ticketing equates to around 25 per cent of Rovers’ income, and with the phased return of supporters pushed back from its original date of October 1, a bleak winter has been forecast, not least when the furlough scheme ends.

And Murray added: “Something has to give. They want something really difficult and are bargaining Donald Trump style.

“It appears that the cash is available but that they want something for it and the whole deal will come down to trying to squeeze clubs until they have to accept it.”

The proposals are unlikely to have been warmly received by some of the Premier League’s less established sides given two places would be taken away.

There is also the fear that greater power for the ‘big six’ could see a redistribution of television money, and a longer pre-season to allow for overseas tours.

Murray believes Rovers would be in a lose lose situation should it go ahead, as while they would benefit financially, it could see them ‘sag’ towards a natural habitat of a settled second tier side.

That’s despite being one of the seven winners of the Premier League and enjoying 11 consecutive seasons in the top-flight before relegation in 2012.

“It’s good that it’s come out in the open because the likes of Burnley and the smaller clubs in the Premier League will see what’s happening and you would think it unlikely it will get the support of those teams with two less places,” Murray explained.

“For a town club like Rovers I think it would be a lose lose. This is going to give us a more middling status and make it more difficult to get to the Premier League and we would just sag back towards the second tier.

“Would the big money men think that it’s really worth taking us a punt on us? We’re already seeing football gravitate more towards the south. Yet the Rovers have spent 18 years in the Premier League out of 29, including 11 consecutive seasons, only 12 clubs have had more. “With less chance of getting promotion then what would be our key achievement of reaching the Premier League is becoming more unattainable.”

For Murray, he feels there is one strength that the club can always turn to in times of struggle.

“One thing we have is our wonderful Academy and the young players coming through,” he added.

“We seem to have hit a rich seam just at the right time and they are flourishing on the first-team stage.”