B-team plan comes in for criticism
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke's plan for a new B-team league is facing a daunting first hurdle with Premier League and Football League clubs set to oppose the proposal.
The plan, part of Dyke's commission aimed at boosting the number of young English players at the top of club football, is to be unveiled to the FA Board on Wednesday and 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 shake-up of the loan system.
The B-team plan is the most hard-hitting proposal however and one which has already sparked opposition.
The Premier League favour a beefed-up under-23 league to replace their current under-21 competition, while there is also a feeling that there already is a breakthrough taking place with young English players, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley promising a bright future for the national side.
Lower league clubs and those in the Conference meanwhile are fearful about the impact on them, if well-resourced under-21 sides from wealthy Premier League clubs compete with them for league places.
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.
Clubs in countries such as Spain and Germany do have B sides playing in lower divisions - Real Madrid and Barcelona both do, for example - 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.
"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."
Football League chairman Greg Clarke, who is a commission member, backed Dyke's aims but said he would wait to hear the detailed proposals.
Clarke said: "The Football League board will have the opportunity to hear from Greg Dyke, in person, later this week. 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.
"After fully considering the relevant issues, the board will then take a recommendation back to clubs who will determine the League's position on this matter."
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