Shake-up plan is now can­celled

Talks be­tween EFL and FA break­down

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International - LON­DON /

Plans for the big­gest shake-up in English foot­ball since the in­tro­duc­tion of the Pre­mier League have been aban­doned af­ter talks be­tween the main par­tic­i­pants broke down.

The Foot­ball League (EFL) pro­posed a raft of changes called the Whole Game So­lu­tion, in­clud­ing a five-di­vi­sion league - one more than present - with 20 teams in each, and a win­ter break.

But dis­cus­sions with the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (FA), the English game’s gov­ern­ing body, foundered on a pro­posal to move FA Cup games to mid­week from their tra­di­tional week­end slots, the EFL said in a state­ment on Wednes­day.

“If the week­end slots are not avail­able (for league games), then there is sim­ply no way we can meet the fi­nan­cial con­di­tions as out­lined at the very out­set,” said EFL chief ex­ec­u­tive Shaun Harvey.

Ear­lier this month, the FA an­nounced a new six-year in­ter­na­tional broad­cast­ing deal for the FA Cup, with Bri­tish me­dia re­ports putting its value at about £820 mil­lion (Sh103,77 ).

This made the com­pe­ti­tion too lu­cra­tive to tin­ker with, from the FA’s point of view, and it re­fused to agree a new cal­en­dar for the changes which would have been in­tro­duced for the 2019-20 sea­son.

“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,” added Harvey.

The EFL be­lieves change is nec­es­sary to ease fix­ture con­ges­tion, make week­end games more spe­cial and help sup­port­ers by cut­ting down mid­week travel.

Un­der the plans, un­veiled in May, each club out­side the Pre­mier League would have seen their home fix­tures re­duced from 46 to 38, a con­tentious pro­posal that some clubs op­posed.

Re­act­ing to the news that the changes would not now go ahead, Ju­lian Tagg, chair­man of League Two (fourth-tier) side Ex­eter City, told the BBC: “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.”

The FA was not im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment.

/REUTERS

Arsena’s Alexis Sanchez with team­mates dur­ing re­mem­brance com­mem­o­ra­tions be­fore the match dur­ing the EPL game against Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at the Emi­rates Sta­dium Nov 6.

/REUTERS

The new pre­mier league logo as pic­tured on a fan wear­ing Liver­pool’s new kit for next sea­son.

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