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The Race for the Premiership

By: Ted Fred Franky, Refuting misinformation, January 10, 2024  5 months ago

A rebranding and restructure of the Football League

At the moment one of the most harmful things that happens to a football club is promotion or relegation. Often promotion will mean the following season relegation is a strong possibility and they will struggle. It is the damaging effect on finances of relegation that causes many problems. This leads to clubs getting into financial difficulty. 19 of the 72 teams change division each year. This means on average each club should face this problem every 3-4 years. How can any business build a long term viability when faced with these issues?

Furthermore, any club attracting fewer than 5,000 supporters to home matches will struggle to survive without additional financial input. As such these football clubs are not really financially viable. They need external funds to survive. Either a restructure of the league or a habitual investor.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3

This proposal would replace the existing league structure with 4 x 18 team leagues of equal merit. The top 3 sides would go forward at the end of each season to the premier League Play Off 1. The bottom 2 sides in each league could enter the National League Play Offs.

The number of fixtures would reduce from 46 to 34. For the 12 teams in the Play Offs they would have an additional 6 matches with greater revenue opportunities. The remaining 60 teams would also get a share of the TV money generated by the play offs and a share of the former parachute payments to more than cover the losses from 6 home matches. These teams could also play in a 60 team end of season cup competition either a straight knockout or pool system.

The Premier League Play Offs

The 12 teams would be split into 3 pools of 4 teams playing each other 6 times (home and away) over a 17 day period at the end of the season. All matches would be streamed and televised live. To ensure competitive fixtures towards the end of the round robin, each team would receive significant revenue for each point gained. The top 2 teams in each pool would then progress to the play off finals.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA 2
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA 2

Second Play Off: If the above proces successful, a second play off for the team finishing 4th and 5th in each league could also be run. The 8 teams would play as above, but only the winning team would progress to the finals.

The finalists would be drawn at random, playing each other at Wembley.

There are now 3 or 4 of the richest games in English football, rather than just one.

National League Play Offs

The 8 teams involved could play off against 4 conference sides (teams 2nd -5th ) in 3 round robins. The bottom side in each would play the following season in the conference. The team with the worst record of the two finishing 3rd would also go to the conference. The winner of the conference would be automatically promoted. As a result between 1-5 teams could change division.

Advantages

  • The Football League as a whole would have increased revenue, and be able to share this evenly to ensure the smaller clubs have extra revenue.
  • Greater security knowing each season what level you will be at will enable greater long term planning and stability for all clubs.
  • Smaller clubs could target a top 5 finish every 3-4 years and build towards that, rather than going for it every year. Thus ensuring their fans have the chance to dream and enjoy the Play Offs.
  • The Play Offs would generate huge worldwide interest in who the newly promoted teams would be. A knock on effect of interest in the Football League as a whole would follow. Since the end of the Football League campaign would determine the who Play Off teams are.
  • The pool matches would be likely to be sell out fixtures and would have huge value as a TV package. This could be shared throughout the league to even up the financial base of all clubs.
  • Teams could select one preferred opponent, ensuring local rivals play each other every year, rather than only if they are in the same division. Again this leads to greater attendances, rivalries and so on.
  • The bigger away following of the larger clubs would improve the finances of the smaller clubs.
  • There would be a wider variety of destinations for visiting supporters to go to, as they could play several different teams from season to season.
  • As 5th place could get a shot at the Play Offs for the Premier League, the top 10-12 sides in each league should have something competitive to aim for for most of the season. Whilst the bottom 5-6 sides would be fighting to remain in the league ensuring almost all fixtures have meaning right to the last game of the season.