Premier League Play-off plans not the long-term answer

So the Premier League has come up with its latest plan to make more money, er… sorry to even up the league.

The idea of a play-off featuring the fourth to seventh placed sides deciding the final Champions League place sounds exciting on paper, but for me it is wrong on so many levels and would paper over an already flawed format.

For starters it renders the league irrelevant. The league is always the true test of a team as strange things can happen in knockout competition. The play-off idea would ruin that.

Also, I find the idea of a team finishing fourth competing in the Champions League silly enough, but a team finishing seventh? It’s the wrong answer to the wrong problem.

But are the Premier League really seeking to even up the league anyway? I doubt it. They just want to make more TV money after the collapse of the ludicrous 39th game idea a few years ago. These extra games, which might be held abroad, would rake in millions, but that doesn’t make it right.

The Big Four are, unsurprisingly, against it. They don’t want their cushy gravy train interrupted by anyone. Yet Martin O’Neill and David Moyes, whose Villa and Everton sides consistently finish in the top seven but outside the Premier League top four, feel the idea is worth a go.

Of course they would say that as it offers them an extra chance to sneak into the cash rich competition.

But would it really help?

For example, if Fulham finished seventh and then won the play-offs they would go into the final Champions League qualifying round. They would more than likely be unseeded and face a tough tie, just as Everton did when they played Villarreal five years ago. If they fell by the wayside the Champions League TV revenue would be distributed by three clubs not four, further increasing the gap. Or what is more likely to happen is the Big Four plus Man City would hog the top five positions  and win the play-offs, therefore rendering the whole exercise pointless.

In my opinion a fairer distribution of TV revenue would be the best way of making the league more even. But that wouldn’t boost cash flow, would it?

The Premier League are approaching this from the wrong angle. They are looking to make more money first and solve the problem after.

As long as they keep doing that the problem will never be dealt with.

Written by Betfair blogger Phil Tomlinson

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