Peter Ridsdale critical of 'self-interested' Premier League clubs
Preston advisor Ridsdale says suggestion of 22-team Premier League next season is 'nonsensical', adding: "Who says Leeds and West Brom are the two teams to go up?"
Last Updated: 16/03/20 1:42pm
Peter Ridsdale has criticised 'self-interested' Premier League clubs who he says are determined to avoid finishing the season.
The Preston North End advisor insists the only fair solution to the postponement of football is to find a way to play the remainder of the current campaign.
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Former Leeds and Cardiff chairman Ridsdale warned that failure to complete the fixture list would have devastating financial implications for clubs below England's top flight.
These have been proposals by some for the Premier League to operate as a 22-team league next season.
While the Premier League, which had 22 teams until 1995, has not yet commented on any of these proposals, Ridsdale was quick to denounce such a suggestion.
"I've never heard anything so nonsensical in my life," said Ridsdale about the possibility of stopping relegation from the Premier League this season.
"Who says that Leeds and West Brom are the two teams to go up? I'm not suggesting they won't eventually, but the only way to determine that is after the 46 games.
"I also think it's disappointing that the primary voices that we've heard over the last few days in the Premier League suggesting no relegation, happen to be teams that currently are sitting precariously above the bottom three.
"Therefore that does appear to be self-interest. The only thing that's right and proper is that at some point in time, we complete the season."
On the financial pressures on EFL clubs caused by the postponement, Ridsdale spelt out the dangers.
He said: "The riches of the Premier League are in stark contrast to those in the Football League and we think it's very important that the season is completed at some point in time in the future.
"Certainly talking to the six clubs currently in the top six positions in the Championship, there is a unanimous view that we must complete the season.
"We actually believe that the financial ramifications of not completing the season are horrific.
"What do you do with season ticket refunds? What do you do in terms of media rights that have been pre-sold under the assumption there's a number of games to be played?
"All of these questions become very complicated if you don't ultimately complete the season."
Responding to suggestions that finishing the season might be considered in Preston's self-interest, Ridsdale believes that outcome, rather than ending it now, is fairer for those teams fighting for automatic promotion and the play-offs.
"It isn't self-interest, it's just what is fair and what is right," Ridsdale said.
"I think it's very important that the Football League take a stance and, from my point of view, I think it's important they take a stance before the Premier League come out and try and determine what they want to do."
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