The English Football League’s (EFL) recent attempts to completely wipe out the current system in this country have not gone down lightly with the everyday supporter, and it’s clear to see why, but new revelations have seemingly dealt a massive blow to the EFL’s shake up.
Just today (Wednesday) the governing body of football for England’s bottom three professional divisions – Championship, League One and League Two – had released a statement which said the proposals to completely get rid of the current pyramid by making five leagues of twenty teams have indeed been cancelled. Reason being ‘apparently’ is that the EFL would have to find extra weekends for match days and that would undoubtedly force FA Cup ties to be played midweek, an idea which didn’t go down too well with the Football Association.
In May this year the English Football League stated their plan for the future was to have an extra division, and each league would only consist of twenty teams, but wouldn’t come into affect until the beginning of the 2019/20 season. Despite the already congested fixture schedule, the FA rejected the proposals as a result of them putting more strain into the football season, which typically runs between August and May, along with a major tournament most summers.
The EFL wanted the following four benefits from the new format they had;
- Ensure more games were played on weekends and bank holidays
- Remove fixture congestion and clashes
- Help EFL clubs make more money
- Keep the play-off finals on the last weekend of the domestic season
Although the plans for a shake-up have now been dismissed, it is still going to be discussed in next year’s annual general meeting for a perhaps more viable option. Any changes to the current format have to get 60% approval from the 92 clubs in the professional game in this country.
This news comes after the introduction of Premier League and Championship under-23 teams in the Football League Trophy, a competition which allows clubs from League One and League Two the opportunity to get to Wembley, and is seemingly a way to get B-teams into the English football pyramid, which already occurs in Spain. The extra spaces were thought to be filled up by those sides; among with several from the National League and one or two from the Scottish Premiership.
Exeter City chairman Julian Tagg has already stated his satisfaction with the scrapping of the ‘Whole Game Solution’ – which is what the proposals of five twenty-team divisions were called. He said: ”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”. Along with Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley who mentioned the league isn’t broken as it is at the moment, so there’s no point in changing it.
It looks like the English game is going through a very large shift at the moment and the attention is purely on the national team, along with money. Many supporters are clearly against the idea but do we need a change in the current system to improve our Three Lions? Perhaps so, but I think the English Football League and the Football Association need to be more careful, as the state of the game is so fragile at the moment. Fans in the lower leagues still have that passion and love to watch their team play, whether they travel from Plymouth to Carlisle or a five minute walk to the ground. Money is talking a lot in this day and age, but, like I said, there needs to be careful planning before making a whole load of changes.