Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Whelan dismisses no promotion idea

Dave Whelan

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan insists he would pull his team out of the Barclays Premier League if promotion and relegation was scrapped in the English top flight.

League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan on Monday claimed the American and Asian owners of top-flight sides are keen on a franchising model. But even if they did gain the two thirds majority needed to win a vote of Premier League clubs on the matter, the league's own rules dictate Football Association permission would also be required.

"It's the most stupid suggestion I've ever heard in my life," Whelan told talkSPORT. "If it was to happen I would resign Wigan from the Premier League and go back and play in the Football League. It's a worrying thought that if we get 14 or 15 foreign owners (in the Premier League), they come up with some mad idea and it gets voted through. It would ruin and kill English football."

He added: "It's got to be competitive, every club has got to have that ambition to get to the Premier League, that's why our league is so good. It's an appalling suggestion. It would ruin and kill English football."

The idea has already been described as "suicide" by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who said on Monday: "I don't see where the end product comes in.

"There are at least eight teams in the Championship at the moment with great history.

"What do you say to those eight teams, they can never play in the Premier League?

"You may as well lock the doors. It would be absolute suicide for the rest of the teams in the country, particularly the Championship."

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