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Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 10:48 UK

Mawhinney rubbishes two-tier plan


Mawhinney rubbishes 'Prem Two' idea

By Paul Fletcher

Plans for a two-tier Premier League have been dismissed by Football League chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside wants two Premier League divisions of 18 teams, including Celtic and Rangers as well as 14 clubs from the Championship.

"It is not going to happen," Mawhinney told the BBC, adding "it is nonsense" and that the Premier League agreed.

The idea, first floated in October, has yet to be formally raised at any Premier League meetings.

But Mawhinney added: "Let me do a little bit of arithmetic for you - Mr Gartside said he would like two leagues of 18 teams - that is 36.

The Football League started in 1888 and Mr Gartside kills it in 2009 - I don't think so

Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney

"He has got 20 teams in the Premier League. He wants Celtic and Rangers - that means he needs 14 from the Championship.

"You take 14 out of the Championship and it wrecks the Football League. So it started in 1888 and Mr Gartside kills it in 2009 - I don't think so."

Gartside, one of longest-serving chairmen in the top flight, said when he initially floated the idea that he felt it would make the Premier League more competitive and address a number of other problems.

"It would even everything out and make it more competitive," said Gartside.

"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.

"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."

European football's governing body Uefa has consistently said that teams will not be allowed to play in leagues outside their own country.

Paul Fletcher

But Uefa's director of communications William Gaillard recently told the BBC the matter would be something to be decided between the leagues and associations involved.

Those bodies would be the Premier League, the Football Association, the Scottish Premier League, the Scottish Football Association and the Football League in England.

The proposal would need 14 votes from the 20 clubs at the Premier League's AGM if it was to be accepted.

Meanwhile, Mawhinney is keen to discuss with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore the idea of the Football League receiving a payment from the top flight to lessen the effect of wage increases.

"The 92 clubs play in a closed system so what happens in players' wages at top of the Premier League ripples right down the Football League to League Two and it is making our life more and more difficult - making it harder for clubs to survive," added Mawhinney.

"We have floated the idea for discussion that maybe we could look at the aggregate of wages of the 20 Premier League clubs and then have an arrangement whereby a percentage of that might be given to Football League clubs to offset the upward pressure on our wages."

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see also
Bolton chief wants radical change
23 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Top-flight 'reticent' on Old Firm
23 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Mawhinney fears for clubs' future
02 Apr 09 |  Football
League boss fears financial hit
26 Mar 09 |  Football
Football League plans big changes
20 May 09 |  Football

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