Belfast Telegraph

Scrapping relegation looks doomed

Any attempt by Barclays Premier League clubs to scrap relegation looks doomed to fail, despite several of them allegedly wanting to pull up the drawbridge.

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.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson branded any such move as "suicide" for clubs outside the top flight, as he said: "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?"

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

As Ferguson pointed out, if the axe fell now, two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest would be out, along with Leeds and both Sheffield clubs.

"All these great teams are the nucleus of the Premier League many years ago," he said.

"The only place you can make money and realise your ambition is the Premier League. You can't take that away from clubs."

United are one of five clubs in American hands, along with Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sunderland. Manchester City, Blackburn and QPR are owned by Asians, while Chelsea also have foreign investors.

Speaking on Monday morning at the Professional Players Federation conference in London, Bevan revealed his fear that if more teams changed ownership, moves might be made to abolish relegation.

He said: "There are a number of overseas-owned clubs already talking about bringing about the avoidance of promotion and relegation in the Premier League. If we have four or five more new owners, that could happen."


From Belfast Telegraph