According to League Managers Association (LMA) chief Richard Bevan, several of the foreign-owned Premier League clubs want to do away with relegation.
“We’re very keen that the report is successful in helping the Football Association introduce a licensing programme for clubs,” Bevan said. “Because 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.”
Nearly half of the Premier League’s 20 clubs are now under foreign ownership, with rules stipulating that if changes are to be made to the format, 14 clubs must vote in favour of any new reforms.
But the Premier League told BBC Sport that the move would be a non-starter, with the Football Association retaining the power to veto any proposals.
However, Bevan still believes it is a possibility, arguing any new owner of a Premier League club would not need to be foreign for them to see there would be money to be made from scrapping relegation.
“It doesn’t really matter if you’re from overseas or not, does it?” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re from Birmingham or you’re from Burma.”
A Premier League spokesman said that they did not recognise LMA chief executive Bevan’s claims, which come a week after the government demanded changes to the way that football is run.
Sports minister Hugh Robertson said that an FA-led licensing system would be brought in to safeguard against issues such as financial mismanagement, asset-stripping owners and tax avoidance. The government also asked for rules to manage club debts and an overhaul of the FA board.
Premier League Clubs With Foreign Owners
- Aston Villa (Randy Lerner)
- Blackburn (Venky’s Group)
- Chelsea (Roman Abramovich)
- Fulham (Mohamed Al Fayed)
- Liverpool (Fenway Sports Group)
- Manchester United (Glazer family)
- Manchester City (Sheikh Mansour)
- Sunderland (Ellis Short)
- QPR (Tony Fernandes)
*Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke is a majority shareholder.
This would be a horrible decision by the Premier League if this ever came about as it would kill the game at the lower levels as clubs like Leeds, Nottingham Forest and West Ham would have no hope of every getting back into the highest level of English football.