In their totality, the plans would have been beneficial to the biggest clubs as well as to dozens of lower-division teams who have little hope of playing top-division soccer. A middle tier of clubs, aspirants for places in the Premier League and those in the lower reaches of the top division, would almost certainly have seen their fortunes suffer, however. That led to tense exchanges behind the scenes, with groups on all sides accusing one another of “self-interest.”
Despite that, Masters insisted the days of tension — which included threats that the richest clubs might break away from the Premier League or even join the E.F.L. should they not get their way — had not damaged relationships between the league’s member clubs.
“I don’t think it takes a huge amount to put things back together,” Masters said. “Actually, the sort of solidarity among the collective is incredibly strong. It takes quite a lot to pull it apart.
“I don’t think it’s irreparably damaged the Premier League,” he added, “and I think that today’s meeting proved that.”
The league now plans, he said, to speed up and expand discussions to reform its structure. The elements under discussion mirror those that the reform plan sought to tackle, including the competition’s structure, governance, financial regulation and the commercial and broadcasting arrangements that have been the engine of the Premier League’s growth since its inception in 1992.
The plight of some of the lower divisions teams has become so dire, according to some E.F.L. chairmen, that without aid from richer clubs or the government — which has declined to provide it — a number of them will run out of cash before the end of the year. That had made the promise of an immediate payment of 250 million pounds, about $325 million, more important to them than the prospect of surrendering greater power over the future of English soccer to a handful of top teams.
“Is it a concern? 100 percent it is. Do I trust them? No I don’t,” Peter Ridsdale, the chairman of Preston North End, a team in the second-tier Championship, told reporters on Tuesday.