The foreign owners of some English Premier League clubs want to do away with promotion and relegation, according to League Managers' Association CEO, Richard Bevan. The Guardian reports that foreign owners want to protect their investments by guaranteeing that their clubs remain in English soccer's top division.
"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." Bevan said.
"You'll find that with American owners and you'll find that with some of the Asian owners as well. If you look at sport all around the world and you look at sport owners trying to work out how to invest and make money, you'll find that most of them like the idea of franchises."
The radical change requires approval from both the English Premier League and the English Football Association (FA). EPL rules require "yes" votes from 14 of the league's 20 clubs. Winning FA approval would be a much harder task since most clubs outside of the EPL would relish a chance to play in the top-flight.
English soccer features a system that sees the worst performing clubs (in terms of points) from the top division relegated to the second division at the end of each season. The best from the lower division are promoted to the top division. There are four divisions in England Football League that all use this scheme.
Most other countries use promotion and relegation, though the criteria -– the number of teams and how movement is determined -– varies.
The American-style "Franchise" model sees a league consisting of the same teams contesting in the league every year. America's top division, Major League Soccer, does not use promotion and relegation.
Bevan looks to English soccer's governing body to defend the game's traditions and culture.
He said, "You need to make sure that the FA is strong enough to ensure that the principles on which our clubs are run, if I'm an owner coming in, I must recognise and embrace the history, the tradition, the supporters, the community, the philosophy of actually how this club should be operating and not deciding my club should be taken abroad or whatever."
Photo courtesy of Flickr/wonker