Dyke claims backing from top clubs

08 May 2014 05:01

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke claimed he has had backing from top clubs including Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City for his plan to introduce B teams.

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 England Commission report, and believes B teams are one way to achieve this.

He unveiled a raft of proposals at Wembley, aimed at boosting the number of English players at the top of club football, including the introduction of B teams in a new 'League Three', special loan relationships between clubs, overhauling the work permit system and increasing the number of home-grown players in squads.

Dyke told a news conference at Wembley that a number of top clubs had all expressed interest in the plan for B teams in a new league.

He said: "There is a lot of interest and enthusiasm from the big clubs for this.

"Liverpool, the Manchester clubs, Stoke, Tottenham - they have no problems with me mentioning them on this - so quite a lot of clubs recognise the problem they have got.

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

"Many of the clubs we spoke to called this the 'Bermuda Triangle' or 'black hole' of English football.

"The gap between the academy and the first team has widened significantly in 20 years.

"A B team is distinct from a feeder club, it is part of that club and as a result of having B teams, 18 to 21-year-old Spanish players play two and half times more competitive football than their English counterparts."

The target, which includes increasing the number of English players playing regularly in the Premier League from 66 currently to 90 by the year 2022, was described as "ambitious but realistic" by Dyke.

The report states: "There should be 90 English players playing over 50 per cent of minutes in the Premier League (or any other top five European league) compared with 66 today - of these 30 should be playing in the top six teams in the Premier League compared with the 18 today."

The most controversial proposal would be establishing a new League Three in 2016/17 made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference. Of the B team squad, 19 of the 25 should be under the age of 21 and 20 of the 25 should qualify for the home-grown rule and no non-EU players allowed.

Many clubs at the top and bottom of the professional game have already expressed deep reservations about that plan.

Dyke hopes to win support from Football League clubs by suggesting the Premier League should make a "significant financial settlement" to clubs in the lower divisions to make sure they do not lose out financially from the re-organisation.

He said: "One valid criticism of English football is so little of the enormous amount of money at the top is being shared at clubs at lower levels. This would allow more to be shared."

In terms of home-grown players allowed in each Premier League squad, the Commission recommends a phased reduction in the number of non home-grown players in top-flight squads from 17 to 12 - starting in 2016/17 and reaching that target by 2021.

On work permits, the Commission proposed a cap on two non-EU players per squad, and that no players on overseas visas should be allowed to play below the Premier League, nor loaned to any other club in England.

Dyke also announced a proposal for the development of "strategic loan partnerships" between a club in the Premier League or Championship and up to two other clubs in the lower leagues. They could loan the smaller clubs up to eight players at any time of the season - all have to be under 22 and home-grown.

The Commission will deliver findings on developments on its proposals in the autumn.

Source: PA