League Three Talk Shelved (17/11/16)
Talks over extending the Football League to a fourth division - an effective League Three - have now been shelved as talks broke down.
Extending the league pyramid, and in doing so, making each division a 20 team competition was an idea raised by the Football League in their 'whole game solution' proposals to deal with a number of issues such as midweek games and the travel involved and fixture congestion to name just two, but following initial talks following the May announcement - the BBC reported yesterday that talks on the extra division and the necessary changes had broken down between the EFL and the Football Association.
The Football Association apparently told the Football League that the plans were 'no longer viable'.
With a largely failing and laughable EFL Trophy with League One and League Two teams being fined for more keeping in the spirit of what the competition was sold on - youth development - and with B teams already categorically moved out, with the failure of the 'fifth division' in English professional football, well it's quickly becoming a wasted summer of announcements and ideas from the Football League.
The Football Association decision is reportedly centred on the fact that to make the plan viable, FA Cup ties would have to move into midweek slots, but apparently the new international broadcasting deal with around £820million means they are no longer will to entertain that option, and by default, that puts the remainder of the plan up the proverbial swanny.
Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey explained.
'If the weekend slots are not available, there is simply no way we can meet the financial conditions as outlined at the very outset. The stance the FA has adopted has brought the discussions to a premature end, before fully understanding what the financial outcome from the creation of a new distribution model could be.'
An FA spokesman said of the development that it was still 'fully committed' to dealing with fixture congestion in the game.
'This is why we are trialling the removal of sixth-round replays in the FA Cup this season and why we supported the EFL in consulting on its innovative ideas for reform. That commitment remains.'
Harvey added that hopefully there would be a change in the FA's position.
'We are, of course, open to re-engaging in what is a hugely important debate that was designed to help shape the future of football in this country.'
Clubs have already began responding to this news, and it's safe to say there's not a lot of upset.
Exeter City chairman Julian Tagg.
'People were very uncomfortable with it, and as a result were watching very carefully and trying to understand the nuances and reasoning behind it. Many fans across the country didn't like the idea of change and I think that was the same with our club. I think there'll be a little bit of a sigh of relief. As you go down the pyramid the more you're reliant on your gate receipts, unless you have some kind of philanthropic chairman who's going to throw money in, which we don't.'
Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley.
'Delighted to see EFL 'Whole Game Solution' proposal shelved. It's not broken so leave it alone.'
Shrewsbury Town chief executive Brian Caldwell.
'From our point of view it's a relief that it's not going any further. We would have liked further information before we would have done anything fully, but from all the information we got it didn't make any sense to change it.'