Football Association chairman Greg Dyke is pushing for the creation of a new division to accommodate Premier League B teams as part of the FA commission's plan to improve English football, which was outlined on Thursday.
Headed up by Dyke, the commission is also calling for a ban on non-EU players outside of the Premier League and a reduction in non-homegrown players in the top flight, as reported by the Associated Press' Rob Harris:
FA chairman: no non-European Union players should play below Premier League. Only 2 non-EU players in PL squads. Tighter visa rules— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) May 8, 2014
The aim of the commission is to nurture young English talent, which will hopefully have a knock-on effect for the national team.
Proposals suggest the creation of a new League Three to be established in 2016-17, which would consist of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference, per BBC Sport.
Sky Sports News reports the limitations that would be put on the B teams in the hope of increasing the opportunities given to English players:
'B' team squads of 25 must include at least 20 home-grown players, only three can be over 21-years-old - tune into SSN for further details— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 8, 2014
'B’ teams to compete in newly-created League 3, can not progress to the championship or compete in FA or League cups— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 8, 2014
Much of the reaction to Dyke's proposals has been negative. The Times' Oliver Kay presented his staunch opposition to the idea:
Hard to convey extent of my loathing for talk of incorporating B teams into the English league system, so for now I'll merely register it.— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) May 8, 2014
Darragh MacAnthony, chairman of League One side Peterborough, believes the proposal will only benefit the top clubs:
My thoughts on this B team scenario - It's all about ME,ME & ME from the FA/Prem & to hell with the rest of you. Cant be allowed to happen!— Darragh MacAnthony (@DMAC102) May 8, 2014
Indeed, The Guardian's David Conn believes that the idea offers the Premier League teams greater advantages:
Dyke's speech promised to challenge question of Premier League & club owners' dominance. Ends up offering them a B League and more loans.— David Conn (@david_conn) May 8, 2014
Conn's colleague, Owen Gibson, reports those Premier League club's who are supposedly in favour of the idea:
Dyke says both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Spurs and Stoke all support the B team recommendation.— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) May 8, 2014
Former England striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker believes that rather than offering youngsters opportunities, the plan will in fact do the opposite:
@OliverKayTimes Indeed! A B team league would just give clubs/managers another excuse not to play them in the first team.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 8, 2014
The Edinburgh Evening News' Barry Anderson seems to agree:
B teams competing in lower leagues? Ideal excuse for managers not to play youngsters in first team = long-term player development suffers.— Barry Anderson (@BarryAnderson_) May 8, 2014
Meanwhile, The Telegraph's Henry Winter has concerns about its effect on the lower leagues:
The risk with B teams is they will damage the Football League's historic, competitive ebb and flow (forming blockages)— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 8, 2014
The BBC's Joe Wilson struggles to see how B teams will engender passion from supporters compared to that shown by fans in the lower leagues, referring specifically to Cambridge United's response to reaching the Conference Premier play-off final on Sunday:
Hundreds on the pitch at @CambridgeUtdFC at the weekend. I wonder if a premier league B team wd ever inspire similar passion?— Joe Wilson (@joewilsonbbc) May 6, 2014
There has been some support for the idea, however, with Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand happy that there is at last a conversation starting concerning the lack of homegrown talent:
4) We don’t have to agree on everything, but I urge all England fans to read the report. The debate needs to be had...— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) May 8, 2014
Despite his opposition to the idea, Oliver Kay seems to agree there needs to be a debate:
Long overdue for Eng football to have this kind of debate, but you can count me as one of those who opposes radicalism of Lge 3, B teams etc— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) May 8, 2014
Sportingintelligence is impressed with the report, suggesting there may be some misunderstanding about the proposal:
The FA Commission report is a serious piece of work and the 'B Team' proposal (nb proposal) is not the radical extreme it may first appear.— sportingintelligence (@sportingintel) May 8, 2014
According to BBC Sport, "In the 2012-13 Premier League season, only 32% of starters qualified to play for England, compared to 69% 20 years ago."
Those numbers are very problematic for English football. What Dyke and his commission are attempting to do is redress the balance.
However, it seems that their initial proposals as they attempt to do this have not immediately been met with overwhelming positivity.