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."

Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam