Premier League

Plans for EPL B league in works

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League
Richard Scudamore has designs on a B league for the Premier League.
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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has confirmed that there are plans for a 'B' league to come into existence.

The new league would replace the current Under-21 league format, and would be for Under-23 players with four over-age players allowed.

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The league would involve the same teams that are in the Under-21 league - which is those who are classed as category one in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

That would mean that current Premier League sides Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland, Tottenham, West Brom and West Ham would be involved along with Football League clubs Bolton, Blackburn, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Reading and Wolves.

Other clubs such as Crystal Palace, who aim to achieve category one status soon, would also be allowed to compete in the competition - with the plan to broadcast the games played from the main club stadiums.

Scudamore outlined his hopes for what he believes will be a much-needed component to youth development in English football.

"We understand the challenge of developing English talent good enough to play in the Premier League first team is how do you get them to transition from Under-18s into first-team squads? It is such a huge leap. You have to have the transition phase, the 'professional development phase' we call it," he explained to the Daily Telegraph.

"The Under-21 League is technically very good but not where it needs to be in terms of meaningful competition for these youngsters.

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"The minute you call it 'Under-21' people think it is no use. It needs a better name and a better focus. All clubs recognise that. We need proper kick-off times, using main stadiums, anything to create an experience that is more competitive and more like the first team so it doesn't come as such a shock. And those players in that group should be interchangeable with the first team.

"They should be category one clubs and we are happy for them to be in that league with 16 of ours, and six of the Championship. If more cat one clubs come along you structure it accordingly.

"It should be in all our interests that people have more cat one academies because that's the best it can be.''

Scudamore insisted that the new league would have no impact on the Football League or its structure.

"Having been chief executive of the Football League, I believe in the pyramid. If you set up a club behind the Dog and Duck, make your way up through those 44,000 others, and climb over enough to get to us - brilliant, we'd love to have you," he continued.

Scudamore insists that the Premier League is firmly behind the Football Association's drive to improve the youth development in England.

"The night (in 2007) we lost to Croatia 2-3, poor old Steve McClaren under the umbrella, I flipped. I said: 'This can't go on, we aren't taking this reputational damage any more.' It took a while to get this EPPP into place.

"It is incongruous that we have the (successful) league that we have and aren't seen to be doing better on the international stage. The last eight of the World Cup is where we naturally should be. The last four is bloody good. To get to a final would be absolutely fantastic. It will happen in my lifetime, that England will get to a final.''

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