Why Promotion and Relegation is Important in Football ?

One might agree or agree to disagree, but promotion and Relegation is an important factor when the competitiveness of a sport is taken into consideration. It holds teams accountable for their decisions and gives us a clear indicator of what a team is playing for. But what happened when you remove this one crucial factor. The  whole fundamental foundation on which the competitive  sports is based on is shaken to the core. 


Most of the leagues around the world follow a multi tiered league system with promotion and relegation. Some doing it a little bit different than others but most of them having a set format of promotion, Relegation and in cases of top leagues, qualification for major continental honours. However, there are still some exceptions to that and those are the ones that are going to be under the microscope today.

How Promotion and Relegation Works in Football
Credits - Sky Sports

Two leagues for example MLS and ISL have adopted the Franchise model but have had mixed results. MLS is now a hotbed for young south American talent and their national team also has Improved leaps and bound over the past decade or so. On the other hand Indian Super League which was also co incidentally launched about a decade go has left the Indian Footballing worse of than before they were Introduced with this repackage top flight which promised to finally wake up the sleeping giant that was Indian Football. However, it is still sleeping and seems like it has gone Into an induced coma off late. 

No promotion or relegation results in no consequences for not performing well on the pitch, no incentive for owners to invest in the clubs and just be content with a guaranteed pay out. For the longest times MLS was also struggling and had half the same issue of stagnation but they were lucky that they ended up having a golden generation, plus better facilities along with their successful world cup bid. It allowed them to circumvent their limiting domestic structure and still put out a competitive national team but the same still cannot be said about their domestic roster. Most of their golden generation has flourished only after moving abroad and the standard of MLS is still relatively inferior to many second tier leagues across the world despite influx of high profile players such as Messi, Beckham, Zlatan over the years. 

Credits - ISL Official

While on the other hand despite an early influx of superstars during the first few season of ISL since it's inception about a decade ago, the magic of stars like Del Piero, Roberto Carlos, David Trezegut, Dimitar Berbatov to name a few has disappeared. There hasn't been a major impact, infact due to the obligation to keep up the Franchise model and the not so healthy financial status of Club Football in India, many Franchises have not been able to keep up with the financial requirements necessary to even survive. Let alone thrive and  has resulted in clubs like Pune City dissolving and Hyderabad FC allegedly on the verge of it and competing in ISL thanks to Franchise model despite not being cut out for the top division whatsoever. That is not to disrespect them but to shed light on the reality about how Franchise football can go wrong. If this was a normal league system, Hyderabad FC would have been relegated and not forced to bleed money season after season despite not being up to the mark . 

Messi Credits - SPORTbible

Although at the time, immediate influx was necessary and Franchise model was seen as a way to attract investment at both MLS and ISL. If they do not take the hard pill and transition to the logical promotion and relegation format which encourages competition and corrects clubs both positively by rewarding them with incentives. And punishes bad performers by putting deterrents in place instead of placating club owners with guarantees then ultimately Football and it's fans in respective countries shall be the real loser.

Cover Credits - USA Network

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