A Premier League ‘Relegation Playoff’ anyone?

Thanks, but no thanks.

With the idea of a Champions League playoff for positions fourth to seventh has had the likes of Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton’s managers wading in with contrasting opinions. What about a relegation play off between the teams at the foot of the table? Whilst sounding a rather exciting prospect to the end of the season, maybe not for West Ham, Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers or Hull City fans for example, it is all together a ridiculous idea.

As the current Premier League stands, Wigan Athletic, Wolves, Hull City and Bolton Wanderers would enter a playoff situation much similar to the Championship. A final taking place would presumably be at Wembley for Premiership survival. Yes it would be exciting for the non affiliated fan but it would just be a money making scam by the Premier League, just like the Champions League playoff would be.

For starters the English season is far too long and has too many games as it is. The playoffs would take place at the end of May and could cause disruption and burn out for those players involved in summer competition. This year’s World Cup for example starts on June 11th, any players involved will have no time off at all as they would be forced to play the play-offs then meet up with their international squads. It just seems to not take into account the burnout capability this holds. English international sides have suffered in the past due to a long hard season where the top clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea have progressed in all cup competitions. The World Cup in 2006 comes to mind in particular. International players that Bolton or West Ham may have would be on their last legs. On the continent these playoffs do occur, In Holland they have a process of gaining a Europa League sport if placed 5th- 8th after a simple knockout competition. The difference here is Holland has four less league matches and only one national cup to compete in.

Furthermore it’s a money scam by the Premier League, giving them a few more games to sell the rights to as they attempt to ramp up the drama like the Championship playoff final. It’s very unnecessary and I don’t think the average football fan wants it. Imagine being a West Ham fan and finishing 15th, yet having an injury crisis coming into a play off arena and being relegated. West Ham could have been six or seven points away from 18th and still be sent packing to the Championship. Ludicrous.

I can’t understand the idea of such a prospect at Wembley either, because that’s definitely where the Premier League would want the final. It would all come down to a one match situation between two teams. A hard fought battle to decide who is plunged into the second tier of English football and in the current climate, maybe financial meltdown. Fantastic drama, yes, but the Premier League is not a knock out competition. It’s a League based on how well you perform as a team over a thirty eight game period, not all down to one match. I wouldn’t understand the moment of victory for a West Ham or Bolton in the final. It’s relief isn’t it? Not adulation and glory of getting to Wembley, it’s a celebration of failure and imagine if a trophy was made. I can’t even bear the thought.

Maybe I’m old fashioned but if you win the League, you’re the Champions. If you come in the top four, congratulations you’re in the world’s premier club knockout tournament. If we started playoffs for the fourth to seventh positions, where would the imagination and passion go for the Premier League title? It would lose some of its shine I imagine, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton will not aspire to that fourth spot anymore, it would become a more solidified top four than ever before with the so called pretenders of Spurs, Aston Villa and Everton happily taking a top seven berth to gain the chance of beating each other in a playoff. This playoff idea just feels like a celebration of failure.

Would you like to see a playoff system brought into the Premier League for relegation?

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