Football League Proposes Creating Extra Division in 2019-20 Season

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2016

Grimsby Town will enter the Football League next season after winning the Vanarama National League play-offs.
Grimsby Town will enter the Football League next season after winning the Vanarama National League play-offs.Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Football League has revealed plans to create a new division by the 2019-20 season, bringing the total number of teams in England up to 100 across five divisions, instead of 92 in four.

According to BBC Sport, both the Premier League and the Football Association have already backed the proposal "in principle," with the remaining 72 Football League clubs set to debate the idea at their annual meeting in June 2017.

The Championship, League One and League Two have 24 teams in them, leading to scheduling difficulties and congestion. If the proposal is successful, every division would have 20 teams.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey provided more information, via Sky Sports News HQ:

According to Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, the proposal also includes a possible winter break, FA Cup matches moving to a midweek slot and perhaps even the inclusion of Scottish teams Celtic and Rangers, something Harvey refused to rule out.

Per Lewis, the current four-division structure has existed since 1958, with the biggest change taking place in 1992, when the Premier League was created. In order to add a fifth division, 90 per cent of Football League clubs will have to vote in favour of the proposal next year.

Harvey admitted it will be difficult to convince Championship clubs change would be in their best interest, as four teams will find themselves one step further from the Premier League once the division is shrunk to just 20 teams:

Potentially, in the first year, of course.

But thereafter your percentage chance of promotion is increased with four less teams. There's always going to be that first year where that particular set of circumstances will prevail.

We are looking at change for 2019/20 so clubs have plenty of time to see this coming. We have to resolve how relegation and promotion would be dealt with in the lead-up to that period.

A loss of revenue could also be a factor, as Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn told the Press Association (via PA Dugout):

Per BBC Sport, relegation from the Football League would be scrapped for the 2018-19 campaign, but it's unclear how the system of promotion and relegation would work once the changes are implemented. The eight new clubs will likely come from the National League, who already send two clubs into the Football League every season via promotion to League Two.