FA chairman Greg Dyke unveils 'League Three' proposal and plans to deal with 'mediocre' foreign players

New league for Premier League B teams is one of the proposals included in the findings of the 'FA Chairman's England Commission'

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The Independent Football

The Football Association chairman Greg Dyke today called for English football to get behind his plans for a new "League Three" for Premier League B-teams that would sit beneath League Two in the football pyramid, in one of the most radical shake-ups to the national game.

The FA has released the findings of the "FA Chairman's England Commission", set up by Dyke to look into why the number of English players in the Premier League and Championship is falling and what can be done about it. The most radical proposal is a new fifth-tier "League Three" with B-teams from Premier League sides which would be subject to promotion and relegation.

Dyke says in the report that he wants the number of English players playing regularly in the Premier League to increase from 66, its current level, to 90 by 2022. He said the declining numbers of homegrown players "is a problem in countries right across Europe but is a significantly bigger problem in England than anywhere else and if the trend continues we fear for the future of the England team. If this cannot be reversed a future England manager will have fewer and fewer top level English players from which to choose."

On his proposals he said: "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, to the development of young English players and to the success of the England team."

Under the recommendations of the report, which claims to have canvassed the views of 650 individuals involved with football in England, Premier League clubs would be able to choose whether they wanted their B-team to start in the new League Three or the Conference. They would be subject to promotion and relegation but would not be permitted to rise above League One and would not play in the FA Cup.


Under Dyke's Commission proposals, each team would include 15 English players which he says would, in a ten-team league, give "150 playing opportunities for English players". The report says: "If we assume that the percentage of these that make it into the first team is around six per cent (a marginal improvement on the percentage of players with loan experience that reach the first team) this would translate into nine new English players making it into the first team squad of a Premier League side each season."

The England manager Roy Hodgson also leant his support to the proposals. He said that "everyone who is passionate about English football would strong advocate the findings and recommendations ... we all have a responsibility when called to answer the question, how can we provide a better platform for the young English players of the future."


The Commission report also recommends the formalising of agreements between partner clubs, like Tottenham Hotspur and Swindon Town. Under the proposed "Strategic Loan Partnership" (SLP) the Commission says that the "lending club would be able to guide the loaned player's experience more closely". Premier League and Championship clubs would be able to sign SLPs with up to two clubs in divisions beneath the Championship.

The places on the SLP would be for home grown players only, and the Commission estimates that 65 per cent of those players would be English. Under the agreement senior clubs could lend up to eight players in a season although only five could be on the team sheet of the receiving club at any one time. They would also be able to loan coaches and backroom staff including sports scientists to their partner clubs.

In return, for the benefits for the Premier League and Championship clubs, Dyke proposes a financial "settlement" as a "counterbalance" although he is vague as to how this might be achieved.

The Commission also address what is says are "mediocre players" from outside the European Union obtaining Home Office work permits to play. It says that 122 non-EU players have come onto the country since 2009 of which 50 per cent did not meet the criteria for a permit. The appeal system has a 79 per cent success rate yet only 55 per cent going into the Premier League played less than the average minutes of a Premier League player. Only 58 per cent given work visas for the Premier League played a second season of football in the top flight.