The Football League have reacted angrily to 'offensive' proposals given by Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas yesterday, suggesting that Premier League Reserve teams could be incorporated into the English pyramid structure. The Blues boss wanted changes to be made in line with the Spanish league structure that sees teams like a Barcelona 'B' team playing in their second tier division.
Villas-Boas believes that the current Reserve League system is not competitive enough to allow younger talent to break through into his club's First Team structure and wants the Football League to be restructured to include Premier League Reserve sides to be played at Championship or League One level.
If ever that idea was likely to have legs, it's been dismissed by the Football League's Chief Operating Officer Andy Williamson who points out that even Second Tier English football is more popular than all European divisions, with the exception of the top levels of Spanish and German leagues, and of course the Premier League itself:
"The suggestion that Football League clubs should become feeder clubs to a select handful of elite clubs is frankly offensive to the hundreds of thousands of people that watch competitive professional football in our competition every weekend. These are senior professional football matches that matter - they are not just platforms for developing other clubs' players.
"The Championship is the fourth most watched league in European football and crowds in our three divisions comfortably outstrip equivalent competitions in all of the other major footballing nations. One of the main reasons for this success is that our clubs are constituted as sovereign entities which represent their town or city with pride, rather than being a subsidiary of another club in another part of the country."
Thankfully not too many other Premier League bosses have leapt to support Villas-Boas. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes a better option is to turn the current FA Academy leagues into an Under-21 structure that would enable the likes of Conor Clifford, Jonathan Obika and Sam Walker to get games in a competitive environment after they come out of the Youth Teams.
With FIFA looking to ban the emergency loan system from the start of the 2014-15 season, it seems inevitable that there will be some fall-out from that, and that could still indirectly ripple through the way Football League clubs operate.
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