The proposals have exposed the these two clubs' seek to secure their current economic advantage and protect their future revenues.
So, a cat is out of the bag and those loveable reds, Liverpool and Manchester United, driven by their shareholders Fenway Sports Group and the Glazer family, albeit strangely detached from the news themselves, seek to secure their current economic advantage and protect their future revenues.
The timing is fascinating. There is no doubt in my mind that this is an opportunistic, pre-emptive strike against the prospect of worsening conditions in the future. It’s done at a time when the EFL in particular is crying out for a solution to their problems.
From the perspective of Liverpool and Manchester United, the timing is particularly interesting. Liverpool’s owners FSG are considering reversing their company into a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) run by Billy Beane and Gerry Cardinale, valuing FSG at an incredible US$ 8 billion. People on Wall Street are also talking of a capital raise by Manchester United to fund the more than £120 million hole in their revenues caused by an absence of paying customers at Old Trafford. The prospect of what is proposed would sit well with institutional investors. Similarly for Tottenham with their considerable debt held by private investors.
There’s a compelling case for believing the financial outlook for the Premier League will become increasingly uncertain. They are currently in the middle of a perfect storm over maintaining the broadcasting value of individual games and thus future rights values (how ironic that the expulsion of fans from stadiums could burst the media rights bubble), domestic broadcasters have significant pressures on their revenue streams – subscription and advertising, plus what was previously considered to be the growth segment – regionally based overseas rights sales – looking far less secure.
Add in the prospect of extremely poor domestic economic conditions reducing the numbers of corporate sponsors, premium seat purchasers and the rank and file of ordinary fans no longer able to maintain season tickets, satellite subscriptions and the purchase of kit and club merchandise, and the prospect of maintaining current income levels reduce rapidly.
Thus, if there’s a chance the cake is going to get smaller in the future, the greedy (or needy) must ensure they get a bigger proportion of the cake.
How will they achieve that?
Place the ability to change rules and regulations, including Financial Fair Play, remove the Premier League chief executive, approve contracts for broadcasting and media rights, and veto the Premier League board’s approval of any proposed change to a club’s ownership into the hands of “the big six”
Make the Premier League smaller, reducing the League to 18 from 20
Restructure the distribution of broadcasting rights taking the current ratio of highest to lowest payment from 1.8:1 to 4:1 – meaning the Champions receive 4 times the amount of the club in 18th place
Provide space in the domestic calendar for the elite clubs to participate in potentially more lucrative European (Super) Champions League games and out-of-season overseas tours
Abolish parachute payments
Give individual clubs the right to sell rights to eight (47% of home) games directly to all territories outside of the UK
Re-classify shareholder rights for members of the Premier League. Effectively three classes of shareholders (i) the big six (who subject to unanimous agreement among the six, carry a majority) (ii) Long term shareholder status for three additional clubs, West Ham United, Southampton and Everton who can only influence decisions in the event of a serious split between the big six (a 4-2 or 3-3 division) and (iii) the other nine clubs who have membership of the Premier League but no votes (the Glazers love issuing limited voting shares)
What do they need to offer to get support?
They’re offering sweeteners in the way of:
- The Premier League will provide £250 million to the EFL to compensate clubs for lost revenue arising from Covid-19
- A one-off grant of £100 million given to the FA to maintain sustainability, including grassroots football
- 8.5% of annual Premier League revenue to go on operating costs and “good causes”, including the FA
- 25% Premier League revenue to go to EFL clubs
- The abolition of the League Cup and Community Shield
- Restructuring of the Championship, League One and League Two. All divisions to have 24 clubs, thereby reducing the total number of League clubs to 90
- A new loan system including the ability to allow clubs to send 15 players out on loan domestically at any one time, with up to 4 at a single club in England
- A women’s professional league to run independently of the Premier League and the FA
- A fan charter including away tickets to be capped at £20, and a focus on safe standing
In isolation, some of the ideas have merit. The funding of the EFL and the prospect of sharing future income. The removal of parachute payments would make the Championship a much more equal affair. The flipside is that relegated clubs would be much more vulnerable to asset stripping in terms of Premier League clubs cherry-picking their best players. The fan’s charter is obviously appealing to fans.
However, in total, the above does not compensate at all for the greater financial and power transfer the proposed scheme offers the big six. Imagine a situation where the six largest clubs can change the rules and regulations at a whim. Imagine they can determine who owns a competing football club, thereby controlling the level of competition they may face in the future. Imagine they can harvest all the developing player talent for their own purposes in the future.
This has nothing to do with securing the future of the Premier League nor securing the EFL. Ignore the nauseating comments by Rick Parry regarding Henry and the Glazers valuing the football pyramid. This is a badly conceived, appallingly presented, opportunistic attempt at a power and money grab. It’s destined to failure because it provides too many advantages to the selected six whilst condemning everyone else to a bit part.
There are intelligent people on the Liverpool and Manchester United boards. They will know you don’t present a coup that doesn’t offer those outside the coup any upside. The fact that this is the best they can come up with after three years of planning is concerning. It is a huge misjudgement and any idea that either of these clubs have interests for the future of the game beyond their own very narrow interests is blown away. The one positive is that their naked self-interest is now exposed for all to see. It should never be forgotten that two of the finest clubs (in football terms) do not respect or value the game, nor the competition that creates their fortunes.
Reader Comments (58)
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1 Posted 12/10/2020 at 23:15:01
2 Posted 12/10/2020 at 23:27:37
3 Posted 12/10/2020 at 23:44:29
It will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the near future.
4 Posted 12/10/2020 at 23:47:34
Here we go...
So this comes along as the RS finally win the league after 3 decades while United have been on the slide since 2013. Then theyve watched on in a season where Leicester and Sheffield United nearly upset the applecart.
Add to that our own prominence and Leeds United returning and this smacks of the self appointed “Big Six” trying to keep their snouts in the trough.
Looking at the “Big Six”, three of them havent won the league as much as us and one in particular not since 1960.
The Arsenal havent won it for the best part of two decades.
And theyre now able to become the law makers in the league? This would be the RS who got us all kicked out of Europe in the mid-1980's, supported the racism from Suarez and didnt apologise for the attacks on the Man City bus which led to further bloodshed. Yet the end of the EFL Cup doesnt surprise me as Klopp has always whined about the English season being too long.
They are using the crisis to Trojan Horse their way into football a set of rules that would be ridiculous.
5 Posted 13/10/2020 at 01:33:08
6 Posted 13/10/2020 at 01:34:11
7 Posted 13/10/2020 at 01:43:37
If it does come about, 'Franchises' will be created, Teams moved and merged. Somebody will get the short end of the merger stick.
Wigan RL, St Helens, Warrington and Widnes, 4 into 3 was deemed the way to go. The proposed merger between Warrington and Widnes which led to the near demise of a great club is a prime example very near to home.
Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool and Everton... see the parallels??
And we would have a good chance of being Widnes if Liverpool have any say.
They have taken a modern Covid opportunity on John Howard's 1546 proverb 'It's an ill wind that does nobody any good' and ran with it.
It's a bit like a Tory Budget 101. Handouts to the poor, perks for the rich and squeeze everybody in-between to pay for it.
If any of this except the help to clus like Leyton Orient... too late for Bury and Wigan etc. Well, the clubs have only themselves to blame.
8 Posted 13/10/2020 at 02:07:27
"How do we do that?"
"They're hungry. Throw them a bone. A hungry dog always takes the bone. In return for that bone they desperately need and crave, demand more power."
"Will they fall for it?"
"Do they have a choice? They'll go out of business if they don't. Starvation, misery, depression awaits, if they don't take the bone now."
"Well how do we recoup the cost of throwing them a bone? Why should we give up even a single bone to those sub-humans? Why not let them rot?"
"We'll have the power in return for the bone. We'll shut off the spigot to the leeches after, and then stack the rules in our favor. We'll use them and manipulate them for our own gain in the long run. They're pawns and fools. Manipulate their present needs. Package it as a "we care" initiative. How can they say no to goodwill and kindness in their time of need?"
"I like it."
"So do I."
Satan and Beelzebub discussing the Big Picture.
9 Posted 13/10/2020 at 03:01:12
In fact, I think clubs like Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham would not be in favour of this as they would be less able to leverage the selling of TV rights to their home games compared to the other 3 larger clubs.
Talk of this being moved to a US “franchise” system are well wide of the mark. The US leagues are competitive because they (in most sports) share revenues. They also make money because they don't have relegation and it's a closed circuit. But this proposal will institutionalise the top six in a way that is very unhealthy to the long-term competitiveness of the Premier League.
10 Posted 13/10/2020 at 06:46:48
That said, it would be madness for the Premier League clubs to sign up to the new deal. Suicide even.
11 Posted 13/10/2020 at 07:47:14
I am sure that Mr Moshiri would have some interesting proposals to put forward.
12 Posted 13/10/2020 at 09:59:00
It will be interesting to hear from the other non elite prem clubs now that their noses are being pushed away from the trough.
There is an obscene amount of money in the premier league. Though clubs applied for government furlough schemes whilst paying players multi millions. Arsenal making 50 staff redundant on the day they sign a player for £45m.
These are strange times for everyone. Doing the right thing or enhancing society in any way seem to be things of the past.
13 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:05:33
As a Widnes RL fan the parallels between the clubs is amazing. At a similar time when the clubs were at the top domestically, something changed and both missed the boat.
We have to consolidate and protect the investment Moshiri has made already. Giving away power to 6 clubs is not the way to do that.
Great article Paul
14 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:22:09
15 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:42:11
16 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:43:38
I wonder whether him being a former CEO of Liverpool and lifelong fan of the RS had anything to do with his views?
Probably me just being cynical
2. The American Franchise model is usually geared to - especially in the NFL - trying to make the successful clubs weak and the bottom clubs the champions over a relatively short period of time. Maximum squad size. Maximum total wage bill. Clubs at the bottom of the league get first pick (remember those days in school) of the new academy graduates. No real transfers, just trading for academy picks. Contracts usually 1-2 years with loads of free agency.
While the tension of the last weeks of the season for those 3 relegation spots and excitement for Championship promotion would be lost, it could be interesting to see Liverpool having to trade away Salah as they added Van Dijk and Allison and that took them over the salary limit. Of Brighton offering silly money to Harry Kane because he is out of contract and Levy won't offer him £500,000 per week.
So we won't get the American Franchise model as the American's have it. We will have a UK version geared to keeping the rich teams at the top and so all the benefits (closed shop) without any downsides (level playing field for the franchises).
Animal Farm? Totally agree. All Franchises will be equal but some will be more equal than others.
17 Posted 13/10/2020 at 12:33:00
18 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:28:56
19 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:38:22
It might also explain some of the obvious errors that the officials have made in games involving these two clubs during this 'discussion' period., which for Manchester United, in particular, was very helpful in that club gaining a place in Europe.
As ordinary fans, it's of paramount importance that the game on the pitch is at least seen to be fair, but given the greedy grab for money and power, it could be argued that there has been nothing fair about the last few years on or off the pitch.
20 Posted 13/10/2020 at 13:50:18
21 Posted 13/10/2020 at 16:15:36
LFC being LFC... whod have thought.
22 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:26:03
I didn't do that. Amazon Fire trouble again.
23 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:34:28
Two examples in recent memory are firstly post Heysel LFC meant to serve additional years banned from Europe as opposed to other clubs. They made sure that never happened.
Secondly, in 2005, as Champions League winners, there was no facility to enter following season if not in top four so they changed the rules and we all know what happened then with a referee mysteriously coming out of retirement!
24 Posted 13/10/2020 at 17:41:35
From a statement by the FA Chairman, who withdrew from talks on changes to the Premier League when a breakaway was threatened by the 'big six'. Their avarice and cynical power grab has failed, showing them trying to exploit the crisis in the game caused by Covid-19 for their own gain.
25 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:14:05
26 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:22:13
Is there not an obvious solution? The Football League gets a fixed percentage of the TV rights money for the Premier League?
Say it was 10% and the rights sold for £3 billion in 2022, the 72 league clubs split £300m. Then this happens at every TV rights sale.
The Premier League would adjust by paying slightly lower wage contracts and slightly reduced transfer fees.
I don't see any reason at all for any transfer of power to make the league an anticompetitive dictatorship or a reduction in size to 18 clubs to assist a European Super Champions League.
The balance is fine now, it is fair and it is competitive. It is exciting and a great product as it is, the smaller clubs can cause upsets on any given day. It's getting more like that now that smaller clubs have the financial firepower to sign some real quality players from Europe and South America, and can easily scoop up lower league talents.
The fact that Liverpool and Manchester Utd are squealing actually does prove that they see this competitiveness as a threat to their business models and want to stamp it out once and for all. The quest for power to stop it is incessant and those opposing should be equally as resilient.
Whilst there is equal voting rights, the Premier League clubs should draw up a constitution. No 1 on the list should be defending the democratic right of one club, one vote, specifically outlawing the transfer of power to a small group of clubs.
28 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:25:44
Cynical? You?? Never!!!
I saw straight through Mr Parry's sleight of hand, as soon as his name was even mentioned among all this, it all made sense that he and his former parish would be in cahoots.
What did strike me today was that this has clearly been going on for months, if Greg Clark at the FA is to be believed. He's said today that he ceased talks around the funding issue back in March because it became clear there were ulterior motives.
29 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:29:39
30 Posted 13/10/2020 at 21:23:15
Are you serious ?
This would be the end of football below the championship. £250 mil sounds a lot but divide it amongst the 72 clubs and its not really. Transfer fees would rise, the salary cap would be pushed up and operating costs would be lost like the Arteta money at most clubs.
Offering a one off £100 mil sweetener to the FA raises serious doubts over the way this deal has been structured and Rick Parrys involvement.
So the League Cup disappears and thats one less trophy to win and one less European place to aim for ? Under this plan the Shite would be in the top for until the end of time so they dont care.
The Charity Shield is likewise fucked off as its an inconvenience to the mighty Reds ! its on a level with the Super Cup and World Club Championship for me. I dont see them wanting to bin that though ££££.
Untied are on the way out both on and off the pitch and have seized an opportunity to cling onto the coat tails of up and coming clubs by the Shite. The Shite need a strong United if this goes through to help suppress Chelsea and City. Theyve become all conquering (in their heads) and have chosen this opportunity to inflict this at time when EFL clubs are struggling and for that they should be called out.
The plan pays lip service to Arsenal, Spurs and us and we should rise above it and if we are the ‘peoples club listen to the people and have no part in this disgusting invasion concocted by THEM.
31 Posted 14/10/2020 at 16:27:42
Of course we should keep the Premier -numbers and voting as it is at present.
32 Posted 14/10/2020 at 16:48:37
33 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:02:09
And believe me I don't give credit to "them" lightly.
If you go on fansites you'll always have a great number of knobheads on them, apart from ToffeeWeb of course.
34 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:02:24
All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that "Project Big Picture" will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or The FA. Further, Premier League Shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid. Clubs will work collaboratively, in an open and transparent process, focusing on competition structure, calendar, governance and financial sustainability. This project has the full support of The FA and will include engagement with all relevant stakeholders including fans, Government and, of course, the EFL. Also at today's meeting it was agreed to make available a rescue package which aims to ensure that League One and League Two clubs will not go out of business as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19 and be able to complete the 2020/21 season. League One and League Two clubs rely more heavily on matchday revenue and have fewer resources at their disposal than Championship or Premier League clubs and are therefore more at risk, especially at a time when fans are excluded from attending matches. This offer will consist of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further £50million on top of the £27.2million solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of £77.2million. Discussions will also continue with the EFL regarding Championship clubs financial needs. This addresses Government concerns about lower-league clubs' financial fragility. Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them. The Premier League and all our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible.
Open and transparent process
Rescue package for Leagues One and Two
Talks on Championship finances
Further, Premier League Shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid.
Clubs will work collaboratively, in an open and transparent process, focusing on competition structure, calendar, governance and financial sustainability.
This project has the full support of The FA and will include engagement with all relevant stakeholders including fans, Government and, of course, the EFL.
Also at today's meeting it was agreed to make available a rescue package which aims to ensure that League One and League Two clubs will not go out of business as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19 and be able to complete the 2020/21 season.
League One and League Two clubs rely more heavily on matchday revenue and have fewer resources at their disposal than Championship or Premier League clubs and are therefore more at risk, especially at a time when fans are excluded from attending matches.
This offer will consist of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further £50million on top of the £27.2million solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of £77.2million.
Discussions will also continue with the EFL regarding Championship clubs financial needs. This addresses Government concerns about lower-league clubs' financial fragility.
Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them. The Premier League and all our clubs remain committed to the safe return of fans as soon as possible.
35 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:08:31
Why did the instigators?
36 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:10:12
37 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:13:20
...The idea has divided the top division, with the 14 other clubs believed to be strongly against the change in governance – with the league and the Football Association sharing their view. At Wednesdays virtual conference call, the Premier League chairman, Gary Hoffman, called for unity after an unedifying week and the Everton chief executive, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, demanded an apology from Liverpool and United, who were represented by Tom Werner and Ed Woodward, club chairman and executive vice-chairman, respectively. Werner and Woodward refused, feeling that they had nothing to apologise for. They claimed to have merely been discussing a list of ideas, to have been brainstorming some forward-planning, and it was unfortunate that they had leaked into the public domain. This led to incredulity in some quarters
Werner and Woodward refused, feeling that they had nothing to apologise for. They claimed to have merely been discussing a list of ideas, to have been brainstorming some forward-planning, and it was unfortunate that they had leaked into the public domain. This led to incredulity in some quarters
38 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:16:46
39 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:21:29
2 benefits, 1. The big 6 don't have to worry about fixtures. 2, a new team wins the league cup every year but the league cup winners still get a place in Europe the following year. Win win in my mind.
Also to support teams in the lower divisions if a Premier team is drawn against team from a lower division the premier team has to play away from home, no replays or extratime straight to pennos.
Thank you premier league big "6"
40 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:22:01
Brian #35, it's called waving the white flag.
41 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:28:17
"Significantly, the other members of the Big Six – Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal – are understood to have stayed silent, which was surprising to some clubs on the call."
Shamed into silence.
42 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:31:01
Everything they wanted except the big prize - perpetual domination by a handful.
43 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:32:12
I also believe every word of the claim by Werner and Woodward, so nothing to worry about.
44 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:47:58
45 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:50:11
There's the key. Thrilled common sense and rational thought has won the day.
And Brent at 42 nails it.
But beware, these people don't listen to "no" and will, I promise, think of some obscure angle to manipulate the system to what they want, packaging the thing and marketing it like it was some fucking gift their brilliant minds dreamed up for the good of the pawns and masses.
I'd be wary and vigilant of these fuckers until the Big Man rings the bell.
46 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:53:26
I am so, so proud of our Club and DBB demanding an apology from the shite and those fuckers down your road. Like bird-chested, chin back, grinning ear-to-ear proud.
That is brilliant.
Nothing to apologize for? Fuck off. Kieran at 44 absolutely nails it.
I am so happy this is past us for the time being.
47 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:58:24
You're having a fucking laugh!
48 Posted 14/10/2020 at 17:59:05
This really stirred me up. I want to beat them so, so badly now - worse than I've ever wanted us to beat them.
They really showed what type of Club they are. To the point that my love of the Red Sox has diminished a bit. What they've done is unconscionable.
Three points Saturday and watch the scheming, proud, arrogant jerks grovel in misery. Please, please, please.
49 Posted 14/10/2020 at 18:09:45
This club has needed to reassert itself for a long time and putting those fuckers in their place is a good way of starting. The nonsense was nothing more than a few classless money grabbing yanks chancing their arm.
50 Posted 14/10/2020 at 18:10:29
51 Posted 14/10/2020 at 18:33:32
The 'franchise' won't be worth much then...
52 Posted 14/10/2020 at 18:45:18
United and Liverpool had drawn up the divorce papers and decided unilaterally the division of assets and income before telling their other partner(s)of their plans. Just voting no and demanding an apology is not enough in my book.
53 Posted 14/10/2020 at 18:58:50
Are we sat with the "top 6" at the table making the decisions or or are we on the floor around the table begging for scraps.
the fact that so called mortal enemies Liverpool and Utd came together says it all. The fact that the red Rick Parry also give it his seal of approval also smacks of corruption.
The premiership should dock UItd and Liverpool points for treason.
Keep up the great articles Paul.........love reading anything you put on here. Please do more.
54 Posted 14/10/2020 at 20:11:12
Barry @49 -
You've nailed it. These buffoons are the types of people that make the stereotype of the American Businessman / Businesswoman accurate. And it offends me and pisses me off.
I mentioned on another thread, there are literally millions of small business owners in this country who do things the right way. Then FSG and the Glazers sweep in and completely crap on our reputation, solidifying a sweeping generalization that is inaccurate, but warranted. That last bit seems a contradiction, but isn't.
If anyone on TW has taken anything from my near hysterical rantings about this situation and the descriptive terms used for American Businessman / Businesswoman, please know this:
Americans, whether liberal or conservative, whether Gaynes or Crowley, overwhelmingly agree that our country is being taken over by people with massive power and massive wallets, and the "common man" has been ignored and forgotten. Exemplified by the outrageous actions of Liverpool and Manchester United microcosmically, with your sport. The big are trying to control and eat the little. Every damn day.
On behalf of an entire nation I apologize, and please know these bastards are not representative of the overwhelming majority of American Businessmen / Businesswomen. They make us look bad, and it's embarrassing.
55 Posted 14/10/2020 at 20:22:20
It makes me think of Fawlty Towers and the Waldorf Salad episode. You see both stereotypes illustrated: the brash classless "yank" and the stuffy, little Englander Basil Falwty. Reality is, it was actually a Slitherin English man, Rick Parry who seemed to drive this. Henry/Glazer aren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The outcome would have been the same if clubs were owned by Aussies like Kerry Packer and Robert Murdoch, Mexicans like Carlos Slim, Hungarians like George Soros. i.e. Greedy powerful people with a chance to exploit.
56 Posted 14/10/2020 at 20:26:47
57 Posted 14/10/2020 at 20:47:53
Kieran, one correction. George Soros is not a "Hungarian"... he is a naturalized American citizen, probably for 40 or 50 years. He is also a Holocaust survivor who is the world's leading target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories -- look up various anti-Jewish tropes applied to Soros and you'll get hundreds of thousands of hits on Google. Soros has donated 80% of his fortune, more than $32 billion, to defeat Communism and nationalism and establish democracy in the former Iron Curtain countries through his Open Society Foundations. Nor has he ever exploited anything except currencies and banks -- never ordinary people. Don't put him in with the rest of those names. He doesn't belong there.
58 Posted 14/10/2020 at 21:04:03
I don't think anyone is disputing the "perps" could be of any nation it just happens to be a few classless yanks at the helm of this scurrilous piracy. The USA en masse are not in the dock.
Rick Parry is a weasel faced twat
59 Posted 14/10/2020 at 22:16:01
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