Martin Keown slams "farcical" idea of scrapping Premier League relegation

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has blasted the idea of scrapping relegation, declaring that it "stinks of greed".

Mirror Sport revealed on Friday night that civil war was in danger of breaking out amid differences in opinion over the remainder of the campaign.

The 20 Premier League clubs will meet again to decide whether they go ahead with ‘Project Restart’ and continue the campaign in 8-10 neutral “approved” venues.

But six clubs – Brighton, West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich – the current bottom six – all spoke out against the idea on Friday and are against the Government-backed idea of neutral venues.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has gone on record with vehement declarations that home advantage should be preserved.

But amid claims that the bottom six are merely seeking to serve themselves, the ‘Big Six’ clubs – who vote as a bloc – are lobbying for guarantees that promotion and relegation will still be implemented – even if the season is cancelled at its current point.

The Premier League hopes to secure the principle for an agreement to return in their next meeting of all 20 clubs, with a 14-6 majority needed for neutral grounds to get the go-ahead.

And ex-England international Keown insists that, whatever happens, relegation must be a factor.

The ex-England international declared: “Scrapping relegation would be farcical and it stinks of greed.

“How would we then package and sell those remaining rounds of fixtures which would essentially become dead rubbers?

“The reason we want to restart and finish this season is to establish relegations and promotions. Otherwise it is no longer a competition.”

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