Date: 21st April 2009 at 4:55pm
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I stumbled across several articles yesterday discussing Bolton chairman Phil Gartside`s proposal to re-organize the Premier League.

For those of you who are unaware, one component of the proposal entails expanding the EPL to 36 teams in two tiers (Premier League I and Premier League II), with a more even distribution of revenue to all teams and either reducing the number of spots, or eliminating altogether, relegation from tier II.

There are other elements of the plan, including rules on foreign ownership and a salary cap for players, but the most controversial component is the possible “closed shop” approach to the Premier League structure. This component is designed to address the disparity in revenue between the Big Four clubs and the rest of the league, the huge gap in revenue between Premier League and Championship, and to eliminate the financial hardship and sometimes disastrous downward spiral relegation from the Premier League can cause (e.g. Charlton and Southampton).

Critics point out any number of reasons why this plan wouldn`t work. Big clubs would surely protect their revenue streams and vote against the proposal. It would damage the ability of English clubs to compete in Europe. Should it pass, how would the 36 clubs be chosen? If based on league and table position at a given point and time, would that mean that a formerly prominent club like Leeds not be included simply because they`ve temporarily fallen outside the Championship? There`s also talk of including Celtic and Rangers in tier II. How would the SPL feel about that? How many clubs outside the chosen 36 would simply close up shop?

The goal of this proposal is noble, but its application seems impossible. Still, I`m not convinced that something like this is not in the future of English football, as money, not competition, has become the driving force. To be fair, as much as it would be disadvantageous for larger clubs, there would be a clear advantage for smaller clubs to vote for the proposal.

If the “closed shop” scenario came to pass, it would completely change the structure of the English game, which brings me to my question. If Fulham were guaranteed a spot in the 36 club hierarchy, would you be willing to live without the drama and excitement of relegation and promotion?


17 Replies to “Do Away with Relegation and Promotion?”

  • IF we were in the top 36, I would be happy! But surely it is just harsh on the lower clubs! They stand no chance!

  • when i first started supporting fulham we were in division 3 on the brink of relegation to conference, but then Mo came along and saved us from the brink boosting us 3 promotions in 4 years. As much as i would like there to be no fear of relegation, its a major part of the game and adds to atmosphere and excitement. If there was no promotion then it would also not allow other teams to mirror our remarkable rise to top flight football which i think all clubs deserve a chance to do so

  • coming from a nation where top flight sports does not have relegation and promotion, i’ll say that it can work. but in the english football system, there is a lot more drama and excitement because of the fact that there is relegation and promotion. also, in the states, there are sports teams that the owners use mainlt as a means to make money, with absolutely no motivation to do well. with relegation at stake, that is a lot harder to do in english football.

  • I think this is a horrible idea. Besides the top 7 or 8 clubs, teams will have nothing to play for. What’s the point? All the passion that characterizes games between the bottom teams would vanish, which would make them boring and unwatchable.

  • The key point that I can’t find an answer to in any of the articles I read is how tier I and tier II would interact. The articles suggest that there may not be any relegation from tier II, which would imply that there would be relegation from tier I. In that regard it would still function in the same manner that the Championship and Premier League function now? If that were the case, it would essentially be limiting the number of professional clubs and redistributing revenue to make the remaining clubs more competitive. Bottom level tier II games would be meaningless, but bottom level tier I would still matter.

  • Relegation/promotion is one of my favorite aspects of the game. I wish that American sports had a similar system. I’ve heard rumors that our soccer/football leagues are trying to organize a similar system and it got me really exited. Anyway, it has also seemed to me that since teams have no fear of losing a spot in their league they will play for draft spots, or in other words, lose “on purpose” to get a better draft pick. I loved the fact that last year even though we were at the bottom of the table, there was still a great deal of excitement and after the last game. All that would have been lost without the promotion/relegation situation. Just seems like it’d lose some of the passion.

  • Gartside is merely trying to protect his neck. Even a blind man with a sack over his head can see that.

  • Gartside is generally considered a forward thinking chairman, so I won’t dismiss the proposal. He’s trying to tackle an issue facing many smaller clubs, not just Bolton. Even our own chairman has recently brought up the issue of increasingly unsustainable player wages. I think Gartside is just trying to get a discussion going, and also move the focus back to domestic competition instead of just the big four and their ability to compete in european competition.

  • It would be stupid to take out relegation and promotion… could have a catastrophic effect on English football….and not a good one!!

  • Ah – a man of integrity. The fate of football is more important than any one team. I admire your principles.

  • Well, as an avid viewer of my local side, I just think it is the end of any hope for them, never mind the effect on Championship sides. Imagine finishing top of what would then be the Championship I guess, just to know you will be playing the same old teams, earning the same amount of money for years to come! Why even finish top other then to gain a couple of extra grand!! Silly idea!

  • gotta leave it as it is surely,i agree with mo in introducing a salary cap on player wages,it would b good if they could even out the comp a bit,the big 4 wont like it but who cares

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