Premier League scorns on ‘B-team’ plan

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iol spt jan13 Soccer Ball Steve Haag Gallo Images Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore questioned plans announced by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke to launch a new league for top-flight 'B teams'. Photo by Steve Haag / Gallo Images

London - Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore on Friday questioned plans announced by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke to launch a new league for top-flight 'B teams'.

Dyke announced his proposals at Wembley on Thursday following an investigation into the state of the English game by a commission that he chaired.

The most controversial recommendation was the creation of a new fifth tier in the English pyramid system Ä 'League Three' Ä which would contain a blend of non-league sides and B teams from Premier League clubs.

The idea is intended to give young English players from Premier League clubs more playing time during their formative years as footballers, but Scudamore believes that it could cause untold damage.

“I've been on record very recently as saying the English pyramid is one of our unique strengths and would like to think we would be able to come up with a solution, which doesn't mean the decimation, the infiltration or the damage of something precious,” he told Sky Sports News.

“I have some real concerns that we shouldn't be looking to infiltrate and damage the pyramid, and therefore I would like to think we should exhaust all other options and ideas.”

According to statistics cited in the commission's 82-page report, only 32 percent of the players who started matches in the 2012-13 Premier League season were eligible to play for England.

It represents a fall from 69 percent 20 years ago and compares unfavourably with England's European rivals such as Spain and Germany.

The commission wants the number of England-eligible players competing in the English top flight to rise to 45 percent by 2022, but its plans have enraged figures from lower-league and non-league clubs.

Mark Catlin, chief executive of fourth-tier Portsmouth, told the BBC: “It will destroy the whole fabric of the league structure.”

There has also been an angry reaction from fans, with 20,000

people signing a petition against the League Three proposal within 24 hours of Dyke's announcement.

However, several Premier League managers have given their support to the proposals.

Speaking on Friday, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told talkSPORT radio station: “It's something that I've thought for years that should happen. It's something I'm a big advocate of.”

Interim Manchester United manager Ryan Giggs, meanwhile, said that a B team league would help to replicate the conditions he countered while making his way through the ranks at Old Trafford.

“I would support it,” said the Welshman, who is English football's most decorated player.

“I remember playing at Old Trafford for the reserves when I was 15 or 16 against Everton. I was playing against men, and it helped me. It helped you physically, mentally, and it definitely brought me on.”

Sapa-AFP


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