Martinez slams new proposals

Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez

ROBERTO Martinez has added his weight to the mass condemnation for proposed plans to scrap the idea of promotion and relegation.

League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan has claimed some American and Asian owners of top-flight sides are keen on a franchising model.

The idea has already been described as “suicide” by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

And Martinez believes clubs such as his own would be the biggest losers if the proposals were given the free light.

“We should be open to new ideas from other sports or other countries, but this is a bad idea,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“In the British game and the Mediterranean game, you need to have the prize of promotion and the punishment of relegation.

“That’s what keeps football clubs aiming for dreams. If you take away that dream, you kill the ambition of all football clubs outside the top flight.

“We are probably the biggest example of a club that has followed its dream, and to stop others trying to follow in our footsteps would be wrong.

“It’s so important that football protects that dream, because without dreams you don’t get big achievements. It wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone.”

The ‘franchise’ model has proved to be a roaring success in other sports, particularly across the Atlantic.

But the Wigan boss says it would wrong to assume such a concept would be a natural fit this side of the pond.

“From one point of view, I can see where they are coming from in proposing this, because it’s a great model that works in certain sports in America from a financial point of view,” he added.

“But it has no place in British football – and I can’t see it ever taking off seriously over here.”

Martinez’s views are echoed by chairman Dave Whelan, who says he’d go as far as pulling Latics out of the Premier League rather than accept such a revolutionary change.

“It’s the most stupid suggestion I’ve ever heard in my life,” Whelan said. “If it was to happen I would resign Wigan from the Premier League and go back and play in the Football League.

“It’s a worrying thought that if we get 14 or 15 foreign owners (in the Premier League), they come up with some mad idea and it gets voted through. It would ruin and kill English football.

“It has to be competitive – every club has got to have that ambition to get to the Premier League. That’s why our league is so good. It’s an appalling suggestion.”

Old Trafford boss Ferguson had earlier said: “I don’t see where the end product comes in. There are at least eight teams in the Championship at the moment with great history.

“What do you say to those eight teams – they can never play in the Premier League? You may as well lock the doors. It would be absolute suicide for the rest of the teams in the country, particularly the Championship.”