Posted: Monday October 17, 2011 9:58AM ; Updated: Monday October 17, 2011 10:04AM

Foreign Premier League owners looking to end relegation

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LONDON (AP) -- Some of the Premier League's foreign owners want to abolish the relegation and promotion system, a senior English football executive said Monday.

With half of the Premier League's 20 clubs under foreign ownership, League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan said if more teams are sold to overseas investors they could force a dramatic change to the rules.

"There are a number of overseas-owned clubs already talking about bringing about the avoidance of promotion and relegation in the Premier League,'' Bevan said at the Professional Players Federation conference in London. "If we have four or five more new owners, that could happen.''

Forcing through any change to the Premier League's rules requires the support of 14 of the 20 clubs.

"Certainly you'll find that with American owners and you'll find that with some of the Asian owners (they have been talking about scrapping relegation),'' Bevan said on the sidelines of the conference.

Arsenal, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester United and Sunderland are owned by Americans, while Blackburn is under Indian ownership and Queens Park Rangers has Malaysian backers.

Under the current system, the three bottom clubs are relegated each season from the top flight to the second-tier Championship, while three clubs are promoted from the Championship to the Premier League.

"If you look at sports all around the world and you lot at sports owners trying to work out how to invest to make money, you will find that most of them like the idea of franchises,'' Bevan said. "If you take particularly American owners, without doubt, there have been a number of them looking at having more of a franchise situation and that would mean no promotion or relegation.

"Obviously if I was an American owner and I owned a football club or I was an Indian owner I might be thinking I would like to see no promotion or relegation, my investment is going to be safer and my shares are going to go up in value.''

The issue has not been publicly raised at a meeting of clubs since 2009 when Bolton chairman Phil Gartside proposed a 38-team Premier League split into two divisions.

Even if 14 clubs decided they wanted to changed the system it would still require The Football Association's approval.

League rules state that the FA's consent is required for "the making and adoption of or any amendment to ... promotion to and relegation from the league.''

Premier League owners also would meet opposition from Europe's football and political institutions if they tried to abolish the ability of lower-tier teams to rise into the elite.

Since becoming UEFA president in 2007, Michel Platini has made good relations with the 27-nation European Union a priority to help ensure that the EU protects football's right to govern its own affairs.

UEFA has highlighted promotion and relegation among its core values in the so-called "European sports model.''

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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