Football

Mixed reaction to new league

Proposal for EPL's B teams to play in a new division draws support and criticism

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke's proposal for a new league for EPL clubs' B teams has found both supporters and detractors.

Dyke unveiled a raft of England Commission proposals at Wembley, aimed at boosting the number of English players at the top of club football.

Also included were plans for special loan relationships between clubs, overhauling the work permit system and increasing the number of home-grown players in squads.

The most controversial however would be the introduction of Premier League B teams and Conference sides in a new "League Three" from 2016/17.

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony reacted on Twitter, saying: "My thoughts on this B team scenario - It's all about ME, ME & ME from the FA/Prem & to hell with the rest of you. Cant be allowed to happen (sic)!

"In this instance, it's finally time for the 72 FL chairmen & most importantly our Chairman GC (Greg Clarke) to be strong to ensure this doesn't happen."

Accrington Stanley stated sarcastically: "In 2016/17 we can achieve our dream... We'll finally be able to play Stoke City Reserves in the Football League..."

'NONSENSE'

The Football League said there was no "acceptable solution" in the Commission's report while England's record goalscorer Gary Lineker described the B-team idea as "nonsense" and the Football Supporters' Federation expressed outrage it was not consulted.

A Football Conference statement said: "The English pyramid system is unique, having evolved over 100 years.

"It has supported the growth of football into a league system that has become the envy of the world. It is important in these proposals to remember the heritage of the English game."

On the other hand, England manager Roy Hodgson and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers have backed the idea.

Rodgers, 41, who spent much of his early coaching career overseeing youth development at Reading and Chelsea, said: "It's something that I've thought for years that should happen. It's one I'm a big advocate of.

"We're talking £300-odd million in coaching for young players to come through, and yet we look at the numbers and the stats and they'll tell you that there's only over 30 per cent of young (English) players who are getting an opportunity in what is the most competitive league in the world, so we have to find a way to give them the opportunity."

Rodgers believes that the under-21 competition is not competitive enough, and the B League will address that issue.

Dyke said other big clubs including Manchester United and Manchester City were also enthusiastic about the proposal and believes club power can prevail even though the Premier League refused to be part of his England Commission.

TARGET

Dyke has set a target of increasing the number of English players in the Premier League from 32 per cent to 45 per cent by 2022 in his Commission report.

The percentage of English players starting games in last season's top four clubs has dropped from 28 per cent to 23.

Also, only one new English player has played in a league match for those top four this season: Manchester United's James Wilson.

Dyke admitted that not all his proposals will go through, but hopes most of them will. 
- PA Sport.


The evidence from clubs, combined with our own investigations, is the lack of playing opportunities for young English players aged between 18 and 21.

– England FA chairman Greg Dyke on the shrinking talent pool of English players, justifying for a league for EPL’s B teams

PROPOSED LEAGUE FOR EPL 
B TEAMS

  • Who will play: B teams from 10 EPL clubs and 10 teams from the Conference
  • When: Mooted to start 
in the 2016/2017 season
  • What: A new division called League Three, one rung below the fourth-tier League Two
  • Promotion issue: 
EPL clubs' B teams can be promoted to League One at the most. If they finish in a promotion spot in League One, the team just below them will get promoted to the Championship instead.