Sir Alex Ferguson Believes Scrapping Promotion, Relegation Would Be ‘Suicide’ For English Soccer

Dumping the system of promotion and relegation would be "suicide" for the English soccer, according to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The Daily Mirror reports that the venerable boss believes such a move would sever ties between the league's soul and its culture.

"I think that would be absolute suicide for the rest of league, and particularly for the teams in the Championship," Ferguson said. "If you look at the Championship at the moment, we have at least eight teams with tradition and history. What do you say to those eight teams? That they can never play in the Premier League? You might as well lock the doors.

"The only place you can make money and realize your ambitions is in the Premier League. You can't take that away from clubs like Nottingham Forest, Leeds, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. All these great teams, who formed the nucleus of our old First Division, all those years ago."

On Monday, Richard Bevan — the CEO of the League Managers' Association — revealed that some foreign owners want to do away with the system that sees the worst performing clubs drop to a lower division. The best clubs from the lower division are promoted to the next division.

This system is used throughout the world, but not in America. Bevan claims that American and Asian owners of EPL teams want to guarantee their clubs remain in the lucrative English Premier League to protect their investments.

Ferguson sees no logic in implementing such a system in a country with hundreds of clubs contesting for a place in the English Premier League.

"It would be unwise to do that [abolish relegation]. It does happen in a lot of countries, not just American football, but I don’t see where the end product comes in then [with no relegation]."

Doing away with promotion and relegation is highly unlikely at this point. It would require a majority vote amongst EPL clubs and FA approval.

English soccer could see some sort of compromise in the near future based on models used around the world. Some countries use a playoff format, which pits would-be relegated clubs against would-be promoted clubs in a one or two-game series. It is common in South and Central America to determine promotion and relegation using results from a number of consecutive seasons.

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