Betfred Sport

Why relegation will not be scrapped

Let's get one thing straight – the proposed ‘plan’ to end relegation from the Premier League will not happen.

It made good headlines, which is no doubt why Richard Bevan, the LMA chief, broke the story in the first place. But even if all 20 Premier League chairmen were to vote in favour, the FA would use its power of veto to put an end to any such nonsense.

Yet even if it doesn’t happen, you can bet your bottom dollar, your house and your car that greedy Premiership moneymen are still cooking up ways to circumvent the FA – and not just the foreign owners, either.

Phil Gartside’s crass ‘two-tiered’ Premier League and last week’s whinge about TV money from Liverpool, chairmen are always trying to ‘maximise revenue’.

Which sounds like sensible business but in fact means ‘to hell with the competition, to hell with the punters, we’ll do anything to stay in the Premier League and keep raking it in’.


An end to relegation would be a disaster. First up, Championship and League One sides would go out of business, or at least have to drastically down-size.

Without the gold-plated carrot of Premier League football, advertisers would flee, attendances would freefall, big stadiums would be too expensive to run.

Great, old names like Leeds, Nottingham Forest and the Sheffield clubs would see all their proud history laid waste, damned forever as second class citizens.

Supporters of the scheme (if you can find any) will tell you that it works in America, but there is a big difference. Outside the major leagues, US sports teams are largely amateur – they do not have four professional divisions reliant on sponsorship, gate and TV money.

Premier League clubs also fail to realise that any attempt to safeguard their status would in fact jeopardise their future.


Why? Because fans and, more importantly, TV audiences, would get bored. After ten years, would any neutrals bother to tune in for Wigan v Bolton?

Would playing Man United still be exciting to fans of QPR? And, come the last day of the season, would many bother watching Sky if nobody could go down? I don’t think so.

On the other hand, Blackpool’s Premiership adventure generated massive interest all over the country, as did Hull, Burnley and Swindon.

To see just how boring repetition can get, look no further than the Champions League, a competition set up to ensure the biggest club’s qualify again and again.

In the 90s, playing Juventus or Barcelona was a big deal. These days, it’s what you do every year, almost without fail.

The Emirates, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge – come the group stages, they’re full of empty seats. It’s not just there either; last season’s Champions League average gate of 39,055 was the lowest in eight years.

Playing the same old teams in the same old format quickly loses appeal. So before the Premier League think that we need them, they would do well to remember that they need us just as much. 

By Chris Dunlavy, The Football League Paper

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