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Hasenhuettl says Project Big Picture would create boring Premier League

LONDON (Reuters) - Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl says the Premier League would become boring and fairytales like Leicester City’s 2015-16 title run would be impossible if “Project Big Picture’ came in.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - RB Leipzig vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - April 21, 2018 Ralph Hasenhuettl before the match REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

Premier League clubs on Wednesday rejected plans put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United for radical changes to the league’s structure and finances, including reducing the top flight to 18 clubs and special voting rights for the big clubs.

The proposals would have seen funding increase for the 72 clubs in the Football League (EFL) but Hasenhuettl believes the long-term effects would have been damaging for clubs with aspirations of challenging the elite.

“It’s short thinking because maybe you get immediately a little bit more money or a better advantage for yourself, but in the end it ends up in a league that maybe has one champion for the next nine years, like in Germany or in Italy,” the Austrian told reporters on Thursday.

“For me, it’s boring, to be honest. What I like so much about the Premier League is that we have every two, three years a new champion. ‘A Leicester’ will never be possible with these changes.

“I am very happy that they have seen it is better to stick with what we have done here so far in England. The reason the Premier League is so famous is because it’s the most competitive in the world -- a 7-2 result from (Aston) Villa against Liverpool is what makes this league so interesting.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche said power should be shared between all the Premier League clubs, including any decisions on how to help struggling clubs in the Football League.

“I played in League One and League Two. Do I want them to suffer? No, I don’t. If there can be a way found from all parties, whether it’s the government, the Premier League or football in general, then I hope a way can be found,” he said.

“Therefore, they should say: ‘OK, we want to look after them but we are going to share that power across the league simply because everyone has earned the right to be in the Premier League. We deserve to be there, we’ve proved that, it’s an ongoing challenge but we are there.’

“It’s fair that everyone should have a say and have agreed moments of who gets what for what reason.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar