Dyke and Commission face backlash

08 May 2014 08:01

Greg Dyke and the England Commission faced a backlash on Thursday from the Football League and the Football Conference over new plans to shake up the national game.

Football Association chairman Dyke unveiled a raft of proposals at Wembley, aimed at boosting the number of English players at the top of club football with t he most controversial the introduction of Premier League B teams in a new 'League Three'.

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.

Deep reservations about the B teams proposal have already been expressed by various clubs both at the top and bottom of the professional game, although Dyke claims there has been backing from major outfits including Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.

England manager Roy Hodgson welcomed the proposals, expressing his confidence that "everyone who is passionate about English football would strongly advocate the findings and recommendations".

But the Football League suggested the report in its current form is unworkable, and Conference chiefs insisted they had not been involved in any talks over the plans that would directly affect their league.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "It is our view that the objective of increasing the number of quality English players is laudable and while the report may not contain a solution that is acceptable at the current time, we should continue to engage with the commission to establish whether there is a solution that meets its stated objective but does not leave the Football League carrying a disproportionate or unreasonable burden."

Dyke's plan is for there to be a League Three from 2016/17, made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference.

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony was forthright in his opposition to B teams in the Football League, writing on Twitter: "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!

"In this instance, its 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."

Giving its response, the Football Conference reported it had not been consulted on the matter and said it wanted to see the England team do well, but not through measures that threatened the current structure of the domestic game.

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.

"We, like all supporters, wish to see the national team successful on the world stage but not to do it in a manner which threatens the whole existence of the pyramid, on which the solid base of our whole game is dependent.

"The report will no doubt be viewed with much scepticism."

The Conference's statement added: "We would like to see the FA extend its coaching programme by providing more financial support, in order to enhance the skills of its existing and future coaches to a higher standard, in order to compete with countries like Spain who have an abundance of more qualified coaches compared to those in England."

The reaction in several other corners also featured calls for the concentration to be on making coaching standards better.

Former England striker and current BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: "I've now read the full FA report. Some important points in there, that have been ignored because of this B team league nonsense.

"We need to focus on points surrounding the coaching and cultural development of young players and lack of funds for coaches, facilities etc.

"You'll win nothing without kids, being given the best coaching, decent playing surfaces and protection from clueless parents."

The Commission was also accused of failing to acknowledge the views of one of England's key supporters' organisations.

Supporters Direct , a group that helps fans create supporters' trusts to run clubs, said it had submitted evidence on two occasions, including its point that: "The introduction of feeder clubs or B teams will serve to reinforce the system of player development that currently results in the stockpiling of talent."

But it said the Commission had failed to send "acknowledgement of receipt, or of its content".

"We have never been asked to speak with the Commission about the content of our submission, yet some 300 'stakeholders' of English football were 'consulted'," Supporters Direct added.

"The desire for change amongst supporters is clear, and this issue is serving as a focal point for the anger and discontent felt towards all those who run our national game."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0