This week the FA Commission released its first report on how it plans to improve the level of the English game and how it wants to increase the numbers of English players in the top flight. One if its main points is to oversee the implementation of B teams from the Premier League into a new 3rd division above the conference. This will comprise of what it hopes 10 B teams and the rest made up of conference sides promoted into this new league
Upon the release of the report the level of opposition to the new league grew far more than its support. The problems this new league would bring far out weigh the return that the FA commission hope it will bring. The most obvious problem is the FA commissions disregard for the competitive nature of the Championship and Football League.
Every league in existence is designed to be as competitive as possible. Every team has something to play for weather it be a tittle run, promotion or relegation. The end of the year is the result of a year of good work for each team and the results of the work they out in is the final position in the league.
Putting new teams into the football league out of the blue is simply pushing these teams aside to suit an already over supported premier league. From a football point of view, which is what the fans pay their good money to watch, these new B teams will not suffer as a result of any relegation nor will gain anything if they are promoted. They won’t add anything to an already popular lower league level.
This will no doubt dilute the competitive nature of the league that these B teams will inevitably find themselves in. Three points to these teams isn’t the difference between survival or push for promotion of a club. What happens if a team going for a title are beaten by a team who only see it as a training match and aren’t there in a competitive nature? The frustration will no doubt be there for all to see. It is this contempt for these clubs that has the FA commission seeing so much opposition.
In the report, the commission acknowledged that it would receive criticism for its plan of introducing a new league and when the report was released it stubbornly stood by it. Commission members such as Danny Mills had an answer for every inevitable question. If an institution is spending a lot of time deflecting questions, then it’s not spending enough time on its purpose.
The Commision also claimed it spoke to clubs and that they agreed that this was the best way to move forward to develop the English game but since then the conference have come out to say they were not consulted. If the Commission did go to these clubs, did they ask the question of B teams or did it ask for their suggestions bearing in mind that a lot of these clubs work with a lot of loan players from the Premier League. None of these suggestions appeared in the report.
The Commission has already stated that the Premier League clubs didn’t get involved. At this moment the Commission doesn’t know if the top clubs would be interested in creating B teams instead of using the current loan system. If the new league doesn’t have the initial ten teams it is looking for will the league be able to get off the ground?
There is the potential that only a handful of Premier League clubs will introduce b teams with other clubs waiting to see if it is a worth while project. If this is the case, would the Commission allow new teams in each year? This could leave clubs in limbo not knowing where they will start there season, a logistical nightmare and for some the possibility that the previous season was a waste of time trying to gain promotion or avoid relegation.
All this potential disruption and destabilisation of a good football pyramid for no guaranteed return. The Commission hopes that out of the 150 or so extra players playing in these new teams that it will bring 24 extra players into the top level of the of the English game. Will playing in a lower league be enough for these players to break into top clubs? No
Playing isn’t enough. These players need coaching. The Commission will bring a new report in the autumn about its plans for coaching. Lets hope it’s a lot better than its plan for the players.