Football League clubs look to the future

Club chairman meet in Portugal

At their Owners’ and Executives’ Conference in Portugal, Football League clubs have discussed a range of issues relating to their competition and their ongoing contribution to English football.

Clubs received a presentation from FA Chairman, Greg Dyke, about the findings of his recent commission on the future of the England team.  They also had the opportunity to question him about the Commission’s proposals and debate the matter in detail during a two-hour session.

The Football League’s Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “Greg Dyke provided a detailed and thought-provoking presentation that helped clubs get a better understanding of the thinking behind his recent report.  Whilst it’s fair to say there is no appetite amongst clubs for the use of B teams or Strategic Loan Partnerships in the football pyramid, they did share his overriding concern about the development of young English footballers and supported a number of the report’s other recommendations.  We will continue to work with the FA to help find solutions that will be supported across the whole game.”

One area highlighted by the Commission was the lack of high quality artificial playing surfaces available in comparison to other major footballing nations.  After discussing the matter in their divisional meetings, Leagues 1 and 2 indicated their ‘in principle’ support for the use of artificial playing surfaces in their divisions.  They have asked the Football League to provide clubs with further analysis of the use of such pitches before formal consideration of the matter later in the year.  While not supporting the use of artificial pitches in their division, Championship clubs have indicated that they would not object to their use in Leagues 1 and 2 or in cup competitions.

At their AGM earlier this afternoon, clubs voted to extend regulations applying to club takeovers in the Championship to clubs in Leagues 1 and 2.  Going forward, any application for a change of control at clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 will require the purchasers of the club to provide ‘Future Financial Information’ demonstrating the club’s ability to trade and evidence of the source and sufficiency of funding.

Harvey continued: “Having operated these rules in the Championship for the last four seasons it is logical to now extend their implementation throughout our competition.  They will assist our efforts to ensure that anyone taking control of a Football League club has the necessary funds, from a legitimate source, to support its business plan.”

Finally, the Board of the Football League discussed the recent newspaper articles regarding alleged corruption in the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup. 

Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: “The Board offered its support to the views expressed by the FA Chairman on the matter, namely that the process should be re-run if the allegations are ultimately proven to be true.

“In our view, it is essential that FIFA – as the ultimate guardian of the world game – complies with the very highest standards of corporate governance, otherwise it will lose the confidence of national associations, leagues and football fans across the world.”