Dyke has action plan

The Northern Echo: Greg Dyke Greg Dyke

A NEW competition for B teams for the leading Premier League and Championship clubs is to be considered by the Football Association board today but there is already considerable opposition from the clubs.

The plan, part of FA chairman Greg Dyke’s commission aimed at boosting the number of young English players at the top of club football, would see the new division placed between League Two and the Conference.

Other proposals would see the number of home-grown players required in league clubs’ 25-man squads increased from the current minimum of eight, and a shakeup of the loan system.

The B-team plan would involve the 24 clubs with a toprated academy but there are concerns in the professional game that it would disrupt the traditional pyramid which allows clubs to be promoted and relegated through the divisions.

Conference and League Two clubs, for example, would be strongly oppose well-resourced under-21 sides from wealthy Premier League clubs competing with them for league places.

Premier League clubs are understood to have serious reservations, as do many in the Football League and Conference.

Clubs in countries such as Spain and Germany do have B sides playing in lower divisions, but they do not have the same historic and structured pyramid as English football.

Alan Algar, sponsorship manager for Conference sponsors Skrill, told BBC Radio 5 Live the plan was ‘‘disgraceful’’.

He said: ‘‘I think it’s a disgraceful proposal because it makes it very difficult for non-league clubs to feel part of the football pyramid,’’ he said.

‘‘People all over the world look towards England and are envious of our pyramid and the way things work here. To insert a number of teams that aren’t competitive and won’t have a fan base just makes it very difficult.’’ The Football League’s board will consider any proposals in conjunction with member clubs.

A statement read: ‘‘The Football League board will have the opportunity to hear from Greg Dyke in person.

‘‘This will enable our board to better understand the rationale behind his proposals and also to ask some practical questions about their likely impact upon the league and its clubs.

‘‘The board will then take a recommendation back to clubs who will determine the league’s position on this matter.’’

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