Foreign owners at certain Premier League clubs are reportedly looking at abolishing promotion and relegation to create a system much like the franchises seen in American sports. Quotes attributed to League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan at the Professional Players Federation point to a number of owners having openly discussed this change in system.
“Certainly you’ll find that with American owners and you’ll find that with some of the Asian owners (they have been talking about scrapping relegation),” Bevan said. “If you take particularly American owners, without doubt, there have been a number of them looking at having more of a franchise situation and that would mean no promotion or relegation.”
Forgive us here but they do know that April Fools is in six months time and hasn’t changed dates in an attempt to boost ratings don’t they?
There’s nothing more exciting than the final day of the season relegation battles that ensue on a yearly basis. It’s not a surprise that many North Americans big on sports that arrive in the UK talk of the passion and difference between fans over here and back home. It has nothing to do with being offered a hot dog at your seat either.
Put simply, fans would defect to other pastimes if this were the case. Those following football are disillusioned with the sport enough as it stands and making such drastic changes would see attendances down and passion gone. Add to this the legal challenges Championship clubs would win and this is far from a realistic proposition.
One thing to throw into the ring on this issue is the amount of teams in the nether reaches of the league that have seen a deal go through with foreign owners. Chief of these are the Indian owners at Blackburn, where the team sits perilously close to the relegation trapdoor. Theirs is perhaps the most pressing agenda of all the owners behind this idea and just makes you think that this amounts to little more than attempting to gain an advantage – known in some quarters as cheating.
The gambling industry wouldn’t be particularly supportive of a move of this ilk either. Once a product becomes more predictable, the betting surrounding it will diminish as many who put money are interested in the underdog prevailing. Under this system, all that will happen is that the top ten will be stronger and attract the better players. Without introducing a fantasy draft it would be very hard to distribute the success around the league.
Anyway those fans that enjoy a good franchise can either go to the NFL once a year at Wembley or follow the Franchise FC that is caravanning around Milton Keynes.