Football: Changes denied on relegation formula

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The Independent Online
The Premier League seems certain to press for a reduction in the number of clubs relegated from the top flight each season. Despite Football League claims that the current three up, three down agreement is "set in stone", and Premier League declarations that reports of the promotion and relegation system being abolished completely are "totally unfounded", there is a feeling in the upper echelons of the game that there is a need for change.

The Football League assistant secretary, Andy Williamson, admitted that there have been calls for talks, but insisted: "There is no way that we would ever enter into talks aimed at reducing the number of promotion and relegation places to and from the Premiership.

"In fact, if you look at other league models around the world, Italy for example, there is even a case for increasing the number rather than reducing it.

"We believe that any move by the Premier League to change it would not be legal - it is set in stone - but that said, we don't believe this is something they are ready to press for anyway."

Any change to the system would not make the whole issue of promotion and relegation defunct, however, and the Premier League's spokesman, Mike Lee, said: "To say that we are looking to abolish promotion and relegation is a total nonsense."

Doncaster Rovers have staved off the threat of extinction following a winding-up order brought by the Inland Revenue. It was overturned in the High Court in Leeds yesterday in favour of an administration order, granted to the club.

Brighton, though, may not be as lucky. The Hereford United chairman, Peter Hill, is to make an 11th-hour appeal for his side to be reinstated to the League. Hill claims that Brighton, who finished one place above Hereford last season, have not complied with the League's demand for a pounds 500,000 bond which should have been lodged at the end of last week.