English football chiefs are reportedly set to hold talks over the biggest shake-up of the domestic game for 30 years, with radical changes concerning the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Community Shield up for discussion.
According to The Times, six leading figures from the Premier League, FA and EFL will meet in person for the very first time on Friday to thrash out a number of proposals from top-flight clubs; which include scrapping FA Cup replays, restricting teams in European competitions to only fielding junior sides in the Carabao Cup and moving the Community Shield from its regular slot as the season’s curtain-raiser.
The Premier League has put forward the proposals as part of what is being dubbed ‘A New Deal For Football’, which could bring about the most significant changes since its inception in 1992. It’s aim is to reduce fixture congestion from 2024 onwards.
English football chiefs are reportedly set to hold talks over the biggest shake-up of the domestic game for 30 years – which could see Premier League teams quit the Carabao Cup
It is also in return for the Premier League sharing more of its money with the lower divisions, with the EFL calling for an extra £300million in funding. However, so far top-flight teams have only agreed to just over half of that figure.
Friday’s meeting will reportedly involve Premier League chairwoman Alison Brittain, who only assumed the position this week, as well as her counterparts at the FA and EFL: Debbie Hewitt and Rick Parry.
Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, will also be present, as will his opposite numbers, the FA’s Mark Bullingham and the EFL’s Trevor Birch.
Six leading figures in the domestic game, including Premier League chief executive Richard Masters (pictured) will meet on Friday to thrash out a number of proposals
One of the changes on the table is to scrap replays in the FA Cup from the third round onwards
If the three bodies fail to reach an agreement, a statutory independent regulator proposed by the government – who are expected to publish a white paper outlining its plans in the next few weeks – would be able to intervene on a financial settlement.
The EFL is understood to be open to tweaking the Carabao Cup, though only for what they deem is an acceptable financial settlement.
The options on the table are for clubs competing in European competitions to either not take part in the domestic cup competition at all or field sides containing Under-21 players.
As for the FA Cup, the Premier League is keen for replays to be scrapped from the third onwards, which is when top-flight teams join the competition. Replays are currently carried out until the fourth round.
The EFL is open to tweaking the Carabao Cup, which could see teams in European competitions either quit the tournament altogether or field Under-21 sides
The Community Shield is also on the table, with the timing of the traditional curtain-raiser match between the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners set to be discussed.
Bigger clubs believe the game, which is usually held on the Sunday before the first Premier League weekend, disrupts their pre-season build-up as well as lucrative overseas tours.
Potential alternatives include playing it either on the opening weekend or mid-season, moving it to an international market such as the United States, or, as one club are hoping, making it an ‘All Stars’ game which sees Premier League teams providing two players each to face stars from other European leagues.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has previously spoken of his desire to see the Premier League launch its own ‘North vs South All Stars’ game in similar fashion to the NFL and NBA.
The timing of the Community Shield is also expected to be on the table in Friday’s meeting
Boehly said at the SALT conference back in September: ‘I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports and really starts to figure out, ‘Why wouldn’t we do a tournament with the bottom four teams? Why isn’t there an All-Star game?’
‘You could do a North vs South All-Star game in the Premier League and fund whatever the pyramid needed very easily. Everyone likes the idea of more revenue for the League.’
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has previously suggested an ‘All Stars’ game
The sole objective for the FA in Friday’s meeting is to raise money for the grassroots game, as was suggested by MP Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review of football, and it will even consider selling its TV rights via the Premier League if it leads to increased revenues.
Labour’s shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell believes both a financial settlement and an independent regulator are required in English football, saying: ‘Football bodies have missed the deadline to agree a fair funding settlement by a full year. Ministers keep saying they should come to an agreement, yet without legislation and an independent football regulator, this issue will never be resolved.
‘We cannot wait another year for more lower league clubs to lose their grounds, dig themselves further into debt, and face potential collapse, while Premier League spending breaks records. The economics of football is broken for the majority of clubs.’
Nevertheless, an independent regulator is not expected to be in place for at least another two years.
When the regulator does come into effect, it is believed football bodies and clubs will have to present sustainable business plans every year to obtain a license for competitions. It would also investors oversee the owners’ and directors’ test for potential.