Premier League B-team plan branded 'disgraceful' as clubs fail to vocalise support

Key plank of FA Commission's findings hits trouble just moments after their official presentation by chairman

Greg Dyke's proposal for a fifth-tier B-team league, made up of Premier League reserve and academy players, looks dead in the water after a huge backlash from Football League clubs and a lack of support from the elite clubs the Football Association chairman cited as in favour.

The recommendation formed the key part of his England Commission report into finding ways to increase the number of English footballers in the top two divisions and was supported by the likes of Roy Hodgson, Rio Ferdinand, Glenn Hoddle and Dario Gradi, all Commission members who lent their name to the report.

However, within minutes of his presentation being made at Wembley, Dyke's proposal that B teams be introduced into a new fifth division – with scope to be promoted as high as League One – was comprehensively shot down by Football League clubs. Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin called the plan: "Disgraceful and a complete joke."

The Football League itself said that the proposal was not "acceptable" and urged the FA to find an alternative solution that did not involve the 72 Football League clubs "carrying a disproportionate and unreasonable burden".

Asked for his response to the Football League's statement, Dyke said: "That's about what I expected."

Under the Dyke proposals, it is understood that Premier League clubs would pay £2 million annually for the privilege of having a B team in either the new fifth division or the Conference. Dyke named Manchester United, Manchester City, Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur as having said to him that they support the idea in principle, although there was no public support from those clubs for the idea.

Dyke said that just because the Premier League's executive was in opposition – chief executive Richard Scudamore declined to take a place on the Commission – that did not mean the individual clubs were against it. "You have to distinguish sometimes between the League and the clubs," Dyke said. "Let's remember, we invited the Premier League to sit on this... you must look at the distinction between the league and the clubs. A lot of the clubs want this.

"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."

Approval from the Premier League would require a two-thirds majority of the 20 clubs to vote for the B-team league. The Football League would require a 75 per cent majority of its 72 clubs, plus a 75 per cent majority of the 24 clubs in the Championship.

Citing the fall in numbers of English players in the Premier League, especially among its top clubs, Dyke said he wanted the number of Englishman playing regularly in the league to rise from its current level of 66 to 90 by 2022. For the good of the English game and the England team he said that he would "urge those in the football world to consider our proposals constructively and with open minds".

Later, Howard Wilkinson, one of the Commission members who co-presented the report's findings, joked that the England team was in danger of becoming "like Cyprus", currently ranked 130th in the world by Fifa, just one place above Suriname.

While the Premier League clubs kept their counsel, a number of Football League clubs were less reticent. Caitlin of Portsmouth not only called the plan, "disgraceful and a complete joke", but added that it showed "a total lack of respect for Football League clubs".

Darragh MacAnthony, chairman of League One side Peterborough, was equally opposed to the report. He said: "It's all about ME, ME & ME from the Football Association and the Premier League and to hell with the rest of you. Can't be allowed to happen!"

The television pundit Gary Lineker described the B-team proposal as "nonsense". He tweeted: "The FA commission has, after months of brainstorming, come up with the master plan of a B team league... As you were."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable