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SBD Global/May 7, 2014/International Football

Football Association To Consider Competition For B Teams Of EPL, Championship Clubs

FA Chair Greg Dyke is looking at ways to improve the national team.
A new competition for B teams of Premier League and Championship clubs "will be considered by the Football Association on Wednesday," according to David Bond of the BBC. One proposal "is for these second teams to play in a league sandwiched between League Two and the Conference." Another option is "to merge the B teams with League Two and the Conference to form two regional leagues." The plans are part of FA Chair Greg Dyke's "commission looking at ways to improve the national team's fortunes." It is understood the Premier League and Football League clubs are broadly in favor of a new competition, "which would give greater competitive opportunities for their young, home grown talent" (BBC, 5/6). In London, Matt Dickinson wrote the Premier League and Football League "are still sifting through the detail of the B team concept." The Football League has questions "about how it could fit into the pyramid, and how promotion and relegation would work." The Premier League believes that "it has already gone a long way to addressing the block on development between the 18-21 age group by planning for a new under 23 ‘PL2’ to beef up the current under 21 league." Dyke wants to come up with a radical solution to the problem of developing young English players but he is aware that disrupting the pyramid structure -- or allowing the elite clubs to build feeder clubs -- "will cause major political debate." Grassroots facilities "are another priority for the Commission which is likely to lobby Government for backing, while changes to the loan system and home-grown quotas have also been considered" (LONDON TIMES, 5/6). Also in London, Ben Rumsby wrote the Premier League and Football League will block any attempt by Dyke "to introduce a new division for their clubs to field B teams." Senior figures in the professional game "are fundamentally opposed to his plan, which requires their backing to be implemented." Irreconcilable flaws have been identified in Dyke’s proposal, "which could see a swathe of B teams begin life in the new division but eventually gain promotion to League One, compromising the integrity of the entire division." EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said as recently as February that he was fully behind the football "pyramid" in its current form, having himself proposed an alternative B competition -- "but crucially outside of that structure" (TELEGRAPH, 5/6).
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