Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ambitious

Closed Premier League?

Recommended Posts

I have recently been going over the idea of a closed Premier League in my head. The U23 [Premier League 2] set the format years ago when they separated from the Professional Development League based on criteria in order to qualify as a category 1 academy. I guess the question is when, not if, they propose a similar set up at senior level? The virus has certainly done its part to accelerate the reality of the situation, but no one was naive to think it was all hunky dory as talk of FFP or P&S regulations dominate chatter on the terrace, on the forums and has almost become as big a side show as the football itself.

Before you bite my head off, let's just run through the current situation: the Premier League has the potential to be the highest earning revenue sports league in the world, consider the well documented numbers from 2015 when Man Utd v Liverpool pulled a TV crowd of around 700m viewers and the Super Bowl that same year has a little over 100m viewers. The NFL as a league turns over nearly three times the amount in revenue, which with a little more consideration the Premier League could easily achieve. If they ever did set up a Premier League-flix, they would really ascend their revenue to untold amounts. The Football League in comparison is nowhere near that, so when teams get relegated now with huge parachute payments they have a huge advantage - that is only going to grow. The problem is that the 'market value' of a Championship player then becomes a gray area. Realistically, based on the average income of the league, the market value of a top player should be £20k-a-week. Nevertheless, when it comes to seeing under-performing high earners at this level sitting on £60-70k a week then you better believe those figures go up. 

Teams could theoretically spend £100-120m on wages in the Premier League live within their means, have a few bad injuries and then get relegated. A wage cap, which is now being discussed, means what for them? They would in effect have to release players due to their wages. What about the players contract? It absolutely makes no sense. 

The idea of a closed Premier League absolutely wouldn't mean unnecessary hording of players either, I would propose strict squad limits, none of this U23 players don't need to be registered BS. I would suggest that each Premier League club has 30 squad places, plus an injured/reserve section similarly to the one used in the NFL. It means that if you have a long-term injury then you can promote one of your U23 players to a senior place, otherwise only players in the senior squad may play first team games. Easy. If you want to get rid of a player to bring someone else in, pay up their contract to release them and they're free to move on. It really is that simple. The investment would mean that the standard of the league can increase too, it would mean genuine world class players wouldn't have a choice of four or five clubs as it becomes more competitive and it creates more landing spots for top players. FFP keeps a hierarchy in place where team A can spend 300m on wages and be fine, but another could be breaking the rules with less than half that. I would impose a wage cap of lets say £300m a club and teams are allowed to spend anything they want below that on their team. As per the U23 format, if an owner/team isn't doing their part then it becomes a commercial decision to replace them in the league, although I have no doubt this format would only bring out the richest people on the planet as it would be by all accounts the most profitable sports league in the world. The NFL has the 89% rule where each team has to spend at least 89% of their cap to keep it as competitive as possible. It would be absolutely possible to do that in the UK. 

Now, as for those 'left behind': who would really care? In my scenario, Premier League clubs would have strict squad restrictions so wouldn't be hording players. The quality of football at this level wouldn't suffer as the majority would be the same players. The cut off between the Championship and Premier League means that you simply won't get teams in the Championship with a huge wage bill, with a significant head start and teams wouldn't over stretch themselves to keep their best player as the 'market value' would be a lot more distinguishable. If a EFL club develops a player who is truly good enough for the next level, it would mean the restriction on squad places and demand would also increase any transfer fee quite substantially. Teams in the football league wouldn't have such an income disparity, wage disparity and it could quite easily be run sensibly between the three divisions. The EFL by sheer volume puts more bums on seats than the Premier League does, so providing its not run by idiots could see this rebranding as a method of increasing their income. It certainly wouldn't become a forgotten entity - it wouldn't have the international pull but it would certainly be a mainstay in the UK.  

I know the only issue would be who would fall on which side of the line, plus who would get to decide? The difference between owning a Premier League club and a Football League club in the above scenario is incredibly significant. Nevertheless, I don't see how any other alternative works: while there are teams being relegated from the Premier League to the Championship with huge wage bills and while the pot of gold for promotion remains a teasing prospect, clubs and players will blur the lines to what the true market value of a Championship player is worth and therefore will continue to run at eye-watering losses. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I think the biggest problem here is that you're forgetting football in England was not built on the same values as American sports. The American model works because a) it is woven deeply into their sporting culture and b) it is adopted during a sport's infancy. Introducing it in the UK would leave our sport riddled with issues.

Football is all about pride, passion, and the pursuit of glory. Not profit and loss. With your idea, it would be a case of self-interest gone wild. The rich get richer, the game becomes more commercialised and clubs become more globally identifiable, and more than ever you see the gulf between the haves and the have nots.

Not for one minute do I believe the league would be healthier as a result. The title will still be won by the most established, traditionally successful teams, or the teams with the most resources and the greatest pull. Messi will still choose Chelsea over Brighton. Neymar will still choose Liverpool over Burnley. It's the same in America. You want to play for the Lakers and the Bulls. You want to play for the Patriots, the Cowboys and the 49ers.

Football is already an incredibly established sport with long-standing rules and traditions and there are some you simply don't mess with. Adopting a rule of no promotion/no relegation would only serve to move the sport away from what makes it so engrossing. The beauty of our sport is that your place in the top division is earned. The beauty of our sport is that clubs can go on a journey. In both directions. They can rise and they can fall.

Would Leicester's 2016 title win be remembered so vividly if they hadn't risen through the divisions, staved off relegation and beaten the odds to achieve it? Would Wilder and Sheffield United be grabbing the headlines this season if they hadn't gone from League One to the cusp of Europe in the space of four years?

Think of the shockwaves it would send through local communities. You have professional clubs throughout the divisions representing a far-reaching number of small towns and cities. You have clubs with long, proud histories and considerable support, dreaming of once again being back at the top table. 

You take away promotion and relegation and in effect, you suck the very oxygen it needs out of the game. The drama, the intrigue, the pride, the passion, the adventure. You leave many of those historic clubs with nothing to play for and nothing to aspire for. You leave many of those communities starved of the game they know and love, they live and breathe, and hold such great affection for.

In effect, you are saying: Leeds fans, time to take up lawn bowls. And we all know they are not sophisticated enough for that.

Edited by Jourdan

Share this post


Link to post

I think your biggest error is assuming that clubs in a closed Premier League would place any restrictions on themselves regarding squad caps. Those clubs would want to field 'b' or under 23 teams in the normal English leagues and they'd just throw money at the league and it's members until they got enough votes to make that happen.

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, Jourdan said:

I think the biggest problem here is that you're forgetting football in England was not built on the same values as American sports. The American model works because a) it is woven deeply into their sporting culture and b) it is adopted during a sport's infancy. Introducing it in the UK would leave our sport riddled with issues.

Football is all about pride, passion, and the pursuit of glory. Not profit and loss. With your idea, it would be a case of self-interest gone wild. The rich get richer, the game becomes more commercialised and clubs become more globally identifiable, and more than ever you see the gulf between the haves and the have nots.

Not for one minute do I believe the league would be healthier as a result. The title will still be won by the most established, traditionally successful teams, or the teams with the most resources and the greatest pull. Messi will still choose Chelsea over Brighton. Neymar will still choose Liverpool over Burnley. It's the same in America. You want to play for the Lakers and the Bulls. You want to play for the Patriots, the Cowboys and the 49ers.

Football is already an incredibly established sport with long-standing rules and traditions and there are some you simply don't mess with. Adopting a rule of no promotion/no relegation would only serve to move the sport away from what makes it so engrossing. The beauty of our sport is that your place in the top division is earned. The beauty of our sport is that clubs can go on a journey. In both directions. They can rise and they can fall.

Would Leicester's 2016 title win be remembered so vividly if they hadn't risen through the divisions, staved off relegation and beaten the odds to achieve it? Would Wilder and Sheffield United be grabbing the headlines this season if they hadn't gone from League One to the cusp of Europe in the space of four years?

Think of the shockwaves it would send through local communities. You have professional clubs throughout the divisions representing a far-reaching number of small towns and cities. You have clubs with long, proud histories and considerable support, dreaming of once again being back at the top table. 

You take away promotion and relegation and in effect, you suck the very oxygen it needs out of the game. The drama, the intrigue, the pride, the passion, the adventure. You leave many of those historic clubs with nothing to play for and nothing to aspire for. You leave many of those communities starved of the game they know and love, they live and breathe, and hold such great affection for.

In effect, you are saying: Leeds fans, time to take up lawn bowls. And we all know they are not sophisticated enough for that.

Absolutely, I agree with everything you put but the profit and loss does need to be accounted for and managed going forward. The Championship is a poverty league in comparison to the Premier League, we can't get around that, plus the EFL have put financial restrictions on clubs to keep their house in order - which now dominates focus in the Championship. Despite everything going on, we've had Barnsley in the last couple of days vowing to sue the EFL if we aren't handed a big point deduction; we're 17 points ahead of them so I would imagine they are pushing for the maximum 21 points? I don't know, that's football in the second tier now and it's not going to get any better. 

The current parachute payment is £40m in the first year, per club, and that's in effect a hand-out from the Premier League to ensure clubs don't go bust overnight. If you take someone like Preston who have a turnover of £13m in the Championship in 17/18, with no parachute payments, then compare to a similar size club, albeit in the Premier League, in Bournemouth who had a turnover of £177m you can see that the being in the Premier League is worth roughly £160m. I think it was worked out to be £180m going into the 19-20 season, which was certainly the number thrown around during the play-off game. I would guess that the Premier League will have to increase the size of their handouts going forward, which means a much more unlevel playing field in the Championship - you could potentially see teams with a £100+m wage budgets and/or £100m head start. I think Villa had a wage bill of £71m and were in the last year of parachute payments? I know the league made a combine loss of £307m in 17-18. I guess it's down to teams to run their own ship accordingly, but we will have to see what the overall effect of the virus is: we will no doubt be losing some football league clubs over the course of the next 12 months, perhaps even a Championship club or two. We have even had talk of every Championship club filing for administration. I personally think it needs to be addressed, I know you said we would lose the excitement of promotion and relegation, I do completely understand that, but equally football at this level is almost second to financial discussions and potential point deductions. We will be in the thick of both going forward. 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

The bottom half of the PL is often more interesting to watch TV wise than the top,  where this a lot at stake all the way down right to the end of the season.

With no relegation, half the games after Christmas will be almost non entities and no one would want to watch so would never be on.

I am pretty sure when thought through, the PL would realise the “show” would be hugely diminished.

As a fan as well for a “Southampton” type team. Would you soon lose interest if the games did not end up mattering after a couple of months.

Edited by Dean (hick) Saunders

Share this post


Link to post

It would be great for grass roots football if this happened because most of us would be watching Mickleover Sports, Gresley Rovers or Uttoxeter Town on a Saturday, having a few beers, and not stressing about Derby playing in a league that they could not get promoted from.

Promotion and relegation is the life blood of football and the reason why its the most popular spectator sport.

 

I reckon the Utch ultras could take the Gresley mob though.........

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.