Belfast Telegraph

Scudamore: The door stays open

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has rubbished talk of scrapping relegation and promotion in the top flight, labelling the suggestion "nonsensical".

League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan claimed earlier this week that the American and Asian owners of Premier League clubs would be keen on a franchising model that would fly in the face of English footballing tradition.

But Scudamore on Thursday insisted there was "absolutely no appetite" for such a change, telling Sky Sports News: "Well, (a), I could never see it; and (b), there's been no serious debate about it at all. It's just a nonsensical starting point...it's scare-mongering of the worst order in my view."

He continued: "There is absolutely no appetite for it. You just can't make statements without being able to back it up.

"I'm probably the person sitting with the most evidence. I speak to the clubs on a regular basis. I speak to all the owners - both foreign and British - on a very regular basis and there's no appetite for it whatsoever."

He added: "The whole promotion/relegation thing is the lifeblood of football in this country."

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sunderland are all in American hands, Manchester City are run from Abu Dhabi, while other clubs including Chelsea and Blackburn also have foreign investors.

Asked for his response to Bevan's claim that the Asian and American owners were in favour of the idea, he said: "My reaction was to ask him precisely who they were and what they were saying and he was unable to substantiate it in any meaningful way - as I knew he wouldn't be able to.

"This idea that the foreign owners are somehow more interested in this than the UK owners is just a misconception."

Football League chairman Greg Clarke concurred with Scudamore, saying: "I wouldn't like to get rid of it at all. I like competition, I like the life-or-death scrap at the end of the season - people trying to avoid relegation, compete for promotion."

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