Dyke’s proposals could kill lower-leagues

Dyke’s proposals could kill lower-leagues

OVF editor Rob Fielding says that the proposals put forward by FA Chairman Greg Dyke only benefit the Premier League and could destroy lower league football as we know it.

Rob Fielding writes…

I bet I’m not the only one to be dismayed and bitterly disappointed by the findings and proposals of Greg Dyke’s England Commission report.

The report was designed to help the England national team but to me it seems to be largely serving the interests of the Premier League…

The report was designed to help the England national team but to me it seems to be largely serving the interests of the Premier League.

There are some sensible proposals such as better use of 3G pitches and limits on foreign players. But some of the more damaging proposals are:

  • A “League 3” sandwiched between the Football League and the Conference made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference.
  • SLPs, Strategic Loan Partnerships, a new system which would effectively lead to feeder clubs by allowing wealthy Premier League clubs to place eight players in two clubs in League One or Two. The lower league clubs will be compensated financially (how much does it cost to pay for a club’s soul, I wonder?)

The only clubs that would seem to benefit from these moves would be the Premier League who would be able to provide their squad members with more experience and competitive football.

Frankly, these two ideas are ridiculous and would probably hinder the England national team rather than benefit it. After all, providing experience for a few youngsters does nothing to alter the greed and non-competitiveness of a Premier League bloated with an influx of highly paid foreign players. Addressing these Premier League problems would undoubtedly benefit the England team far more than these proposals.

I’m also worried that these moves both widen the gap (even more) between the Football League and Premier League and lessen the Football League as a competition. It’s already a case of Premier League “have it alls” and Football League “have nothings” – this only gives more benefits to top-flight clubs whilst damaging lower-league outfits.

Does the Norwich “B” team get expunged to be replaced by a Leicester “B” team? Will this happen every season? 

These proposals also produce plenty of questions. Let’s just assume that Norwich set up a “B” team when they entered the Premier League. Well, as they are now relegated? What now? Does the Norwich “B” team get expunged to be replaced by a Leicester “B” team? Will this happen every season? These plans seem at best poorly thought-through and at worst completely unworkable.

In my view, there are two proposals that are far better than the two the Commission have proposed. They are:

  • Rigorously  enforce the UEFA financial fairplay rules – a step that would hamper any attempt to “buy” the league title and encourage clubs to provide their own homegrown talents, a high proportion of which will be young English talent.
  • Make sure the Premier League complies with its own claims to provide 5% of its TV revenue to grassroots football (it doesn’t meet its own target right now) and increase that to 10% of the revenue. There will still be plenty spare for the Premier League after that.

But the problem with those proposals, I would imagine, is that they mean that the Premier League has to work harder and be less greedy. They are hardly proposals that will be adopted by the FA, who hold the Premier League in such esteem. Is no one in the commission far sighted enough to think that perhaps the problem with the national team is not solved by Football League changes but by addressing the “loadsamoney” culture of the Premiership?

I hope Football League fans rise up to oppose these ill thought-out, unworkable and hugely damaging proposals. The future of the Football League is at stake and we need to make sure it’s isn’t killed off by the poorly thought-through proposals of the England Commission.

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