AFTER weeks of build-up, the Football Association commission’s plan to boost English football was released yesterday.
The most high-profile proposal was for a new League Three, comprising 10 teams from the Conference Premier and 10 Premier League B teams.
It’s something that has been utilised in other countries, most notably Spain, for a long time, but could it work in England?
In theory, it’s a sound plan, and it’s easy to see the logic behind it. Young players will be given the chance to play proper competitive football, with an emphasis put on English talent as most of the squad would have to be home-grown.
In practice, I’m not sure it’s workable.
For a start, will playing Conference-level football really help to bring on players seen as the future of the English game?
Secondly, how will it be decided which teams get to have a B team? There are seven obvious candidates in Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, but who would get the other three spots?
Once they are given out, can things change? For instance, 10 years ago, Manchester City were another average Premier League club. Now they are a certainty to get a B team. The same thing could happen elsewhere.
This is all before you start to consider the future of clubs further down the pyramid and the sporting integrity of the competitions they play in. Expect there to be plenty of opposition from League One, where the B teams could rise to, downwards.
More worryingly, there are plans to allow Strategic Loan Partnerships between top-tier and lower-level clubs. Under the proposals, wealthy clubs would be able to place up to eight players with clubs in the lower leagues, and have a say on how they are used.
On its own, this proposal could have a devastating effect on the lower leagues. Combined with the plan to introduce B teams, it could be catastrophic.
Other measures include placing more limits on non-EU players in the Premier League and banning them totally from the Championship downwards.
In all honesty, I’m not sure any of these measures are needed. Yes, we have a lot of foreigners playing in our top teams, but if the young English players are good enough, they force their way into the side.
If they can’t do that, it’s my argument that they probably aren’t good enough to play for the national team anyway.