Football

Gartside proposes sweeping changes

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One of the most senior figures in English football has called for revolutionary changes to the Premier League.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside, one of the longest-serving chairmen in the top flight and a member of the Football Association's board, is proposing a two-division Premier League be set up - and perhaps even with no relegation to the Football League.

He said: "We have to start considering what the structure of the league is, and it is time to look at two Premier Leagues - Premier League One and Premier League Two - and the way the finance is allocated."

He added: "You could have 36 Premier League clubs split into 18 and 18 and that would also solve the problems of the winter break and supporting the England team.

"It would even everything out and it would make it more competitive on that basis.

"We have already got to the situation where the three clubs that go down from the Premier League are usually the three that come up, although a couple of others might sneak in.

"I don't have the answers but it is certainly time for a debate - perhaps even on not having relegation from a second division of the Premier League."

Gartside added that owners of clubs such as Bolton, Middlesbrough, Wigan and Blackburn needed protection from the invasion of overseas investors.

"The traditional type of owner are something of a dying breed, instead you have the Sheikh of wherever and people like the Glazers coming in.

"Local businessmen like [Bolton owner] Eddie Davies, the late Jack Walker [at Blackburn], Dave Whelan [Wigan] and Steve Gibson [Middlesbrough] have given their town teams unbelievable financial backing. They need to be protected in some way from the influx of outside investors with seemingly unlimited funds."

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Topics:
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Wigan Athletic
Middlesbrough

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