PREMIER LEAGUE

Premier League clubs to vote on relegation plans amid financial concerns

Amid fears of a second coronavirus wave, Thursday’s Premier League meeting will see contingency plans discussed as clubs' finances become increasingly perilous.

Premier League clubs to vote on relegation plans amid financial concerns
Lee Smith Action Images via Reuters

Up to half of all Premier League clubs may call for relegation to be scrapped for the 2019/20 season if the current campaign cannot be finished on the pitch. A meeting on Thursday will allow clubs to vote on a contingency plan, with a points-per-game formula considered to establish final standings.

"Up to 10 clubs" against relegation if Premier League season doesn't finish

Sky Sports News has reported the opinion of an unnamed top-flight club who claimed that there is widespread desire to see relegation removed if fixtures cannot be completed: “We would vote for no relegation if the season is curtailed” he said, adding that “there are up to 10 clubs who think the same thing”.

Premier League clubs began contact training last week in preparation for the season to resume from 17 June but that could be disrupted if there is another spike in the UK’s coronavirus infection rate. There are fears that the UK may suffer a ‘second wave’ of infections as schools and some shops begin to reopen from Monday.

Outstanding transfer payments loom for Premier League clubs

In recent years, Premier League clubs have become increasingly reliant on instalment-based transfer agreements and many could soon struggle to make the outstanding payments. Football finances blog Swiss Ramble has compiled data on the payable transfer debt of Premier League clubs for the 2018/19 season and it makes worrying reading for a number of relegation-threatened sides.

Bournemouth have enjoyed a five-year spell in the Premier League but they currently occupy the third and final relegation place, level on points with West Ham United and Watford. The Cherries have a reported £81 million worth of transfer debt payable - more than last season’s Europa League finalists Arsenal - and have cash reserves of just £10 million as of last summer. West Ham had accumulated £86 million of transfer debt as of the 2018/19 season, more than Manchester City had racked up over the same period.

If the Premier League season cannot be completed, it could leave some clubs forced to repay a portion of their lucrative broadcasting deals, receiving no matchday income and having to continue to make payments for previous transfer deals. The clubs relegated would have to negotiate these issues with vastly reduced broadcasting and marketing revenues.

All 20 clubs will be represented in the meeting on Thursday, in which they will vote on a contingency plan to be used if coronavirus disrupts the league’s return. Clubs will hope that removing the threat of relegation will give them greater security if the league cannot be completed. However, the final decision would lie with the FA, who have so far insisted that relegation and promotion should be maintained.