Friday 15 December 2017

FA proposes Premier League B teams

An FA commission wants to use the blueprint of the Spanish and German football leagues and allow Premier League clubs to enter B teams in lower divisions in a bid to improve the England national side.

The Football Association is proposing a major overhaul of English soccer with the introduction of a fourth-tier league from 2016-17 for top-flight clubs' B teams and limits on overseas players.

The commission was set up by FA chairman Greg Dyke and its members include England manager Roy Hodgson, former England coach Glenn Hoddle and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

"It was agreed that by 2022 our target should be that there are 90 English players playing regularly in the top European leagues, compared with 66 today, and of those 90 we would want at least 30 playing in the top six teams," Dyke told a news conference at Wembley Stadium.

The commission suggested the creation of a new 'League Three' which would initially be made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 sides from the cream of minor league football in a bid to give players more competitive matches.

Clubs could be promoted and relegated between League One, Two and Three and the minor league Conference but B teams could not play in the second-tier Championship and must always be at least one division below their A sides.

The plan is based on the structure of Spanish and German football, where younger players play competitively on a regular basis. The likes of Lionel Messi and Juan Mata came through Barcelona and Real Madrid's B teams respectively.

"The majority of Germans, the Spanish, like Xavi, (Sergio) Busquets, even (Pep) Guardiola, came through the B team system, the model is there for it to work," said former England and Manchester City defender Danny Mills, one of the commission members.

"The biggest problem is going to be change and the change of tradition but if we want to move forward we have to change"

As well as the introduction of B teams the commission also wants to overhaul the work permit system and prevent non-EU players from joining any English club outside the Premier League.

Developing a Strategic Loan Partnership, where clubs from the top two English leagues can loan players to a lower division 'Partner' club is another change Dyke hopes will allow greater opportunity for 18 to 21-year-old English footballers to play more competitively.

"I welcome the proposals and I know the chairman, and indeed everyone who is passionate about English football, would strongly advocate the findings and recommendations," said Hodgson.

The FA commission's report said the next step in the process; "should entail detailed consideration, consultation and debate between all interested parties in football".

Dyke implored the leading clubs to look at the proposals with open minds and said he already has the support of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City.

"The clubs we've talked to are keen," Dyke said. "The clubs said 'you've got to find something that gives these kids real competition'.

"We recognise that making changes in football is often a slow and difficult process but we urge those in the football world to consider our proposals constructively and with open minds.

"We urge them to balance the specific, narrowly-defined concerns of their particular club or league with what will be of the most benefit to the game overall, the development of young English players and the success of the England team."

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