Plan for No Promotion to and Relegation from the Premier League Is D.O.A.

There was a report Monday that some of the foreign Premier League owners would start to push for the elimination of the relegation and promotion system. Any change in the in the way the Premier League handles its rules would require the support of 14 out of 20 owners. As it stands now, half the first division teams are under foreign ownership.

The League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan is quoted as saying, “Obviously if I was an American owner and I owned a football club or I was an Indian owner I might be thinking I would like to see no promotion or relegation. My investment is going to be safer and my shares are going to go up in value.”  There may be some truth to this on the financial end, but yet, these foreign owners know what the rules are before they invest in a club. They know that there is a possibility that a Blackburn or a Queens Park Rangers could be dropped from the top division if they have a poor season. So why complain about it after the fact?

Obviously, these statements have sent shockwaves through football. For all of the talk, however, I can’t see much coming of these plans. Isn’t the relegation and promotion aspect part of the magic of English football in that any club, no matter the size, can work its way up to the top league? Getting rid of this would be a disservice to those who support smaller clubs.

As an American sports fan, I have found the relegation and promotion system quite unique and very interesting. The threat of being relegated keeps clubs playing hard throughout the entire season and typically the race to see who gets sent down is almost as fascinating as the race for the Champions League. There have been many times when I have wished that Major League Baseball would incorporate some sort of relegation and promotions system so that those greedy owners wouldn’t just pocket the revenue share money without trying to put a competitive team on the field.

The blanket proclamations that Bevan’s makes opens up more questions than answers. How would it be determined what clubs would stay in the Premier League?  What if a foreign owner sells his club to an English owner?  Could those teams be promoted?  In the end, I think this will be much to do about nothing, as the owners must realize that the majority of the fans would be against this, which would lead to supporters purchasing few tickets and less merchandise. That, I would suspect, would hit the owners where it hurts.

19 thoughts on “Plan for No Promotion to and Relegation from the Premier League Is D.O.A.”

  1. If they don’t like the risk of losing money by their team being sent down they shouldn’t buy a team that’s already in top flight play. Instead of spending millions (if not billions) on a top flight team then complaining about the predetermined rules of English football, they should buy a team in the Championship at a reduced rate and spend money getting players and building it up the top flight. The problem with these owners are that they are impatient and short sighted of long term effects this could have on the EPL.

  2. This really isn’t an issue because the Premier League would never allow it.

    It’s much ado about nothing and is a perfect example of the papers taking something that would never happen and making it into a story.

  3. If anything I’ve always wished the the MLS would adopt a promotion/relegation system; that’s always seemed like one of the weakest parts of the MLS. That the EPL would lose that would be terrible. I can’t imagine it actually happening, though.

    1. the MLS doesn’t have that much of a foothold in American sports to be able to do the same and if anything if it was a European league they would be 2nd tier anyway because the the quality of the sport here as a whole. The MLS is not yet ready for that kind of a system and it won’t be until the standards come up as a whole.

      1. Let’s be honest, the quality of MLS is not up to par with League One Football, dare I say League Two. MLS has MILES to go before it can even think of adopting a relegation/promotion system.

        1. Disagreed.

          MLS team are not up with the upper half of EPL but they are within Lower EPL and English 2nd division. The Quality has improved alot and with Expansion slowing down in with them reaching 20 teams, The Expansion will be focused more to NASL as the US D2 and to trying to create a viable D2 league to find out if Pro/Rel is possible between the 2 leagues.

  4. It’s unworkable for all the reasons listed above and it’s obviously not going to happen. But I’ve been a little put out by the tone of a lot of the reaction to this story in the English media. I’ve noticed a lot of lazy stereotyping with a lot of assumptions that foreign – and particularly American – owners somehow can’t understand the idea of promotion/relegation.

  5. Even if a two-thirds majority of Premier League clubs voted in favour of abolishing relegation, the move would still be unlikely to come about as the league’s own rules dictate it would also require approval from the FA, which would expect to hear widespread opposition from the rest of the game.

  6. I suppose this will bring up the rumors of a breakaway Super League again….that’s the only way a NFL-like franchise system would work.

  7. We can all say it will never happen and I agree whole heartedly. However, think of the chain of events that could happen.

    1.) The Champions League loses their tournament because issues have already been brought up about how the Champions League is handled.
    2.) This is put to an official vote on the FA and is subsequently shot down
    3.) Champions League loses their TV rights but retains the Champions League name
    4.) The biggest clubs in the world join the “old champions league” as a 20 team league. You would have a league that would contain Bayern Munich, the Milans, the big 2 in Spain, City, Chelsea, Man U…etc.
    Tell me those big clubs would not take “a look” at this because the TV contract would be triple or quadruple what the TV contract would be for an individual league.

    This could feasibly happen, I would never want it to happen. But these statements on the heels of the Champions League troubles certainly suggest it could happen…

  8. this is never gonna happen in a million years. since everyone has already spoken about how the professional game works in England, i would like to talk about how things are run over here. although it would be great if every professional sports league adopts a pro/rel system, it’s not practical over here. in a country the size of England, it’s possible to have 92 league clubs where the distances between the club grounds are not that huge. teams and their supporters travel on trains to away games on match-days. clubs don’t need to fly to a different city in the same country. the only time you hear of English teams taking the aerial route is when they travel to a far away place in Central or Eastern Europe to play in a European competition. In a country the size of the US, you would be traveling long distances to play league matches. i would love to personally see not only different cities have different clubs, but in fact, i would love to see bigger cities have more than one club, such as NY, LA, Chicago, Houston, etc. Sort of like London has dozens of clubs. But it’s not practical unfortunately. Geography and a long history of the way things are run here doesn’t permit it. if it finally does happen, it’s going to be a long and hard journey and will def. come as a culture shock to Americans.

    1. Make the lower divisions regional.

      In my ideal simulation the MLS would have 26 teams in two divisions. Play everyone in your division twice and every team in the other division once. That’s 37 league matches with only 6 or 7 of them being cross-continental.

      The bottom team in each division would be relegated to one of two regional 2nd leagues (West and East) which themselves would be divided into northern and southern divisions again playing each division mate twice and cross-division teams once which will minimize travel. If they were 16 team leagues you’d only play 3 or 4 matches (out of 22) more than a couple or three hundred miles away each season.

      Repeat as necessary as you go down divisions.

      1. I see it this way for US Soccer
        24 Teams in MLS 12 in the East and 12 in the west.
        24-48 in NASL 12 to 24 in the East and 12 to 24 in the west.
        Promotion/Relegation Between MLS and NASL.
        Regional Leagues in USL-Pro and the CSL that play as a minor league To NASL and MLS.
        It might be the best Solution for US and Canadian Soccer.

  9. First off the Football Association will not allow it. And do you want to get stuck with mediocre bottom clubs forever? 20 years ago, perhaps 7 or 8 clubs could realistically win the league. Today, we are lucky if more than 3 clubs are capable of being champions. The only thing that keeps the Premier League from being an absolute bore is the spectre of relegation.

  10. What would really work is three top tiers. The break away by the PL still hurts the English system… If you extend it to the top three tiers, you could create a feeder system co owned lower level clubs. That would boost the finances of the lower level clubs, strengthen the quality of that level’s play, and even further establish links to the top clubs… So If John Doe played for a conference club, he’d be owned by Arsenal. Paid by Arsenal, but the profits of the club he played for and the silverware he brought would stay at the conference club would stay with it.
    It would mean that Plymouth Argyle would be out of the top 60, but could field a team funded by a feeder club, and like minor league baseball, a recovering player from the parent club could rehab for the club…
    It would make the whole of English clubs stable, and create connections via the system.

    but what the hell do I know.

  11. So the head of the FA comes out and spreads paranoia about foreign ownership of Premier League Clubs. Do we know who these dastardly owners are who want to end promotion/regulation? No Do we have quotes and actual news? No This is a non-story.

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