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Premier League Clubs Want Relegation Scrapped
Monday, 1st Jun 2020 09:25

The Premier League has always been a self centred League, if you are in in you are one of the elite, but drop out of it and you are in trouble, as the clubs prepare for Thursday's vote, some it seems are still only interested in protecting their own backs.

Within hours of the season being suspended Karen Brady vice Chair of West Ham United was demanding that the season be declared void, of course this was about health issues and nothing to do that the Hammers were out of the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Indeed the clubs that followed her lead by pure coincidence also were those around the relegation zone.

Up to a fortnight or so ago the media was full of reports from one club or another expressing doubts about restarting football although few of these were in the top half of the table.

But as the time to look at restarting drew nearer the Premier League clubs were whipped into line, not only by the Premier League itself and the Government, but by the financial reality of the situation that if the League did not restart and get completed then perhaps as many as half the League would be likely to go bankrupt, not only from repaying the moey to the TV companies, but from the fact there would be little income to pay the over inflated wages of players.

Many fans including those of Premier League clubs themselves have little sympathy for the players in this situation.

The meeting last week drew up the blueprint for the restart, including details of how the League would be decided should it need to be abandoned without completion.

That formula was simple, clubs would be awarded the average number of points per game earned so far x38 games so we could technically have a club go down not on goal difference but by a fraction of a point.

This would only come into play should the league be abandoned with clubs not having played the same number of games, if the season is scrapped with all clubs having played say 34 games, then the average points system would not be needed, but it could figure greatly if that is not the case and with the games so spread out it could be a likely scenario.

This system favours those outside of the bottom three unless there the points total is greater than the number of games played, ie if at the cessation of the season Brighton were on 29 points from 32 games (.9062 per game) and 4th from bottom and the 3rd from bottom club Watford had 28 from 31 (.9032), Brighton would stay up on on 34.43 (.9062 x38) whilst Watford would go down on 34.32.

Conversely if we got further in the season and Brighton had 36 points from 35 games (1.028) and Watford 35 from 34 (1.029), then Brighton would be adjusted to 39.06 but would go down as Watford would have 39.10.

In many ways this is the fairest way to do things as it takes into account the whole season's average.

Sky Sport are claiming they have spoken to an owner of a Premier League club who is saying

"We would vote for no relegation if the season is curtailed,"

"There are up to 10 clubs who think the same thing."

The formula would be adopted now and used in the future if a season has to be finished early. The recommendation needs the support of 14 clubs in a vote in order to be added to the Premier League's rules.

The fact that it needs the support of 14 clubs is perhaps going to mean the vote will be carried, the "Owner" knows this and is merely protecting his own interests and not that of the other clubs and the League.

The Premier League have been told by the FA that voiding the season is not an option and have been warned by EFL Chairman Rick Parry that they will launch legal action if their is no promotion and relegation.

That is also likely to be the stance of the likes of Leeds and any legal action would likely also be issued requesting an injunction on the 2020/21 season being unable to start until this matter was resolved.

Older fans may remember the Carlos Tevez situation back in 2007 when the Argentinian signed for the Hammers and led them to a last day escape from relegation at the expense of West ham, it was then found that there were contractual irregularities.

Sheffield United launched a complaint to the Premier League who turned it down, the Blades then went to an arbitration panel who conceded that their complaint had been valid and that it “would in all probability have reached a different conclusion and deducted points from West Ham.”

But this was too late for Sheffield United the Premier League had already started again the following season and could not just have been stopped, West Ham had to pay them £20 million, but this was a fraction of what they would have earned in another Premier League season, it took them 12 years to get back.

So you can bet your bottom dollar that any legal action will result in a court injunction to stop the season starting and it could be six months or more before the legal process is followed through as well as the inevitable appeals etc, thus meaning that there would be be no Premier League next season.

So this situation is a lot more complex that what it appears on the face of it, whichever way you turn there is an issue, there is only one clear path and that is finishing the season, even if that means a points per game average being used.

Passing this amendment to the Premier League rules will take away the last escape route for the clubs in the relegation zone who were probably hoping that the season being abandoned would mean that it could be voided and legally they could be seen to have done all they could to have played it.

Football has always been a no holds barred dirty game, but in the past that was more on the pitch than off it, now most of the off the ball incidents are in the boardrooms.

Photo: Action Images

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Number_58 added 10:03 - Jun 1
I don't blame the clubs at all. Getting relegated is bad enough, but getting relegated when the rules have changed three quarters of the way through the season will be very hard to take. The matches in Germany so far have shown that the lack of crowds has almost certainly had an effect on results.

NewburySaint added 11:31 - Jun 1
Have never been a fan of the Prem, whether Saints have been in or out of it, but since the lockdown my dislike for it has multiplied-it’s more about money than football which, to be fair, has always been the case anyway but recently it has become embarrassing.

As someone that travels away as well give me the EFL any day-yes, you get more bang for your buck in terms of quality from the Prem, but as an EFL club you feel more a part of your club and you (mainly) meet better people & clubs than those that are involved in the Prem.

redwight added 11:49 - Jun 1
Nobody ever seems to make the point that however the season is concluded, it will be the same for everyone. There has always been an element of chance involved. There's every possibility Saints would have won the League cup if VVD had been available, for example. And what if we had gone down a couple of years ago thanks to Watford's last minute hand ball equaliser? Take it on the chin and get on with it Brady.

saintmark1976 added 12:08 - Jun 1
Nick, with great respect you are starting to make yourself look a little bit silly now. There simply is no connection whatsoever between the Tevez situation and where the Premiership now finds itself.

As for suggesting that the way forward is to relegate a club on the basis of an aggregated system of previous games played, I'm not surprised that clubs currently in danger of the drop are unhappy.

Out of interest, I note that you have not replied to my post last week following your suggestion that a team could be relegated simply because they were unable to play their match on a Monday were as a rival stays up having played on the previous Friday. What possible fairness is there in that situation?

davidargyll added 09:59 - Jun 2
Agguably, Number 58, a lack of a crowd might benefit us if this column is justified in forever going on about how negative the fans at the SMS are...!!
Insofar as the relegation issue is concerned, less than 38 games played is unfair to somebody no matter how you slice this particular cake; let's just hope that we don't slip from our current "lofty" position and get dragged in to it...!

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