LONDON: Premier League clubs have an obligation to protect those further down the English soccer pyramid, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday, the day after top-flight clubs voted against Project Big Picture. Touted by the American owners of Liverpool and Manchester United, the plan called for the Premier League’s six biggest clubs, plus three long-term members, to have “special voting rights” that would effectively put them in command of the world’s most commercially successful league. Many Football League (EFL) clubs welcomed the project that promised a 250 million pounds ($322.80 million) rescue fund and Arteta says that whatever the rights and wrongs of the proposals, lower league clubs should be protected. “I think we have to protect the lower leagues as well, this is our obligation,” Arteta told reporters ahead of his side’s trip to his old club Manchester City on Saturday. “We want to produce grassroots and opportunities for everybody in this industry. I think it’s fair to assess the situation and find the best possible way to achieve that. This is our responsibility as well.” Arteta said he believed unity was vital in any decisions regarding a re-structuring of the Premier League.