No one will argue with the fact that Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has a tough job to do. He has been tasked with turning the English game around when it is potentially at its lowest ebb. So in a bid to solve the problem the England Commission was set up and tasked with coming up with ideas that would lead to England winning the World Cup in 2020. This week we learnt their findings and solutions, and it is fair to say they haven’t gone down well!
The biggest talking point to come out of the four recommendations made by the Commission was the idea to introduce 10 Premier League or Championship ‘B’ teams into a newly formed League Three. The thinking behind the suggestion is that it works in Spain and Germany so why not in England? Out of all the things the FA could have taken from studying England’s European counterparts, this was probably one best left alone.
What Joe Public want to hear is that the governing body will be putting more money into grass roots football, improving the facilities and making it easy for coaches to earn their badges. As it stands it would cost anyone interested in doing their Uefa A coaching license between £2,500 and £3,500, while in Spain the same course would work out at less than £500.
No wonder then that top coaches in Spain, Germany and Italy number in the tens of thousands, while England can only boast a modest 3,000 at this time. Those stats seem to have been overlooked in favour of trying to get young English players more regular action. Great idea, and one that has been mooted before.
The FA were once recommended to introduce a feeder club system into the Football League which would see young players go out on loan to lower league sides. This was rejected as it was seen as “damaging the morality of the Football League”.
So we arrive at the ‘B’ team concept instead. Dyke is confident the move will be welcomed by the Premier League and Football League alike eventually, despite not including the Premier League in his plans and the Football League claiming there was no “acceptable solution” in the Commission’s report.
As with so many things in life though Dyke believes money will talk, and with an investment of around £2million per club per season promised he may well end up being right. Should that be the case then it will be another nail in the coffin of the relationship between football clubs and its fans.
Who wants to pay to watch their team go up against a side who aren’t bothered whether they are promoted or relegated, with the former being restricted by the FA’s plans. These lower league teams were not so long ago being deemed not good enough to work with England’s young stars for fears they would corrupt them. Now we are told that playing at the same level will be beneficial to the national game.
The whole idea has more holes in it than Swiss cheese and it is no surprise to see the majority of the football community up in arms with the plans. Except for the Premier League, with a string of managers unsurprisingly voicing their support for the idea.
How this idea will benefit England’s chances of winning the World Cup is open to debate but that won’t stop the FA, who specialise in half-baked and unwanted plans.