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Stoke can never take top-flight status for granted - CEO

Reuters
NEWS
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7   //    11 Nov 2016, 14:52 IST

(Reuters) - Chief executive Tony Scholes has said that while Stoke City have survived fairly comfortably since earning promotion to the Premier League in 2008, they have never taken their top-flight status for granted.

Stoke have managed to reap the lucrative rewards of steering clear of relegation to the Championship, the second tier of English football, with a string of mid-table finishes.

"Football, like many things in life, goes in cycles. We are in a period where, for a number of years, the English league has been the best and, truthfully, looks like remaining so," he told British media.

"Every time we do a TV deal you ask have we reached a peak? But the answer is 'no, not yet'. My concern is less about how long that is going to last because I think it will last for at least another five years or more."

With the Premier League's 5.14 billion pound ($6.46 billion) domestic television rights deal kicking in this season, Scholes felt top-flight safety remained the priority for the Potters.

"Of more concern is that we have been in the Premier League for nine years, but all clubs outside the big six arguably have half-an-eye on what if things don't work out and what if we go down? You have to have a contingency plan in place," he added.

"That's the bigger concern because there's a huge financial gap between the Premier League and the Championship."

Stoke, who are 12th in the table, host 13th-placed Bournemouth on Nov. 19.

($1 = 0.7954 pounds)

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)

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