Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Redknapp: Foreign owners a concern

Harry Redknapp

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is concerned about the influence of foreign owners of top-flight clubs, and claims it is only a matter of time before they insist competitive domestic matches are played abroad.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers Association, claimed on Monday that some foreign owners of top-flight English teams were keen to end the concept of relegation from the division and promotion from the npower Championship.

Redknapp has tasted promotion and relegation throughout his 28-year career in management, and criticised any foreign owners who would vote to end relegation, saying: "How can you not have promotion and relegation? It's scandalous."

He added: "What is the league about? When the play-offs first came in in the Championship and the first and second divisions, people said we don't want the play-offs, but they have been a fantastic thing.

"It keeps the league going. Years ago, with 10 games to go, the league was over. If you were not going to win the league be promoted or relegated then you would switch off, now everyone is fighting for something.

"It is competition, teams trying to stay up. What is more exciting than the last day of the season when teams are looking to stay up and win the championship? You have to have promotion and relegation."

Three years ago, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore suggested that top-flight teams should play at least one of their matches abroad.

The idea was rejected flatly by the FA, but recent Far Eastern tours by Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea, which all drew huge crowds, underlined how lucrative a prospect playing a competitive game on another continent could be.

With Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool in American hands, and other teams like Chelsea owned by foreigners, Redknapp thinks it is only a matter of time before top-flight sides are made to play competitive games abroad.

"You can't have too many foreign owners coming in here wanting to change our game," he said. "Eventually, you will end up playing loads of games around the world. That will happen."

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