‘This crisis can be a good opportunity’: Manchester City chief Ferran Soriano believes English football’s coronavirus struggles may boost chances of Premier League sides registering B teams in the Football League
- Ferran Soriano has talked up having Premier League B teams in the EFl
- The English football pyramid is struggling financially because of Covid-19
- Talks between the top flight and EFL over a £250m bailout are currently ongoing
- But one of the conditions could be for Premier League clubs to have B teams
- Soriano believes it would help develop a generation of players who can get lost
Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has talked up the prospect of Premier League clubs registering B teams within the EFL.
The English football pyramid is facing significant financial harm as Covid restrictions show no sign of being lifted, with clubs frustrated at Government inaction.
Talks between the EFL and Premier League over a £250million bailout continue, with that package likely to include conditions. Some clubs fear an inability to trade beyond this month should a package fail to be agreed.
Ferran Soriano has talked up the prospect of Premier League clubs entering B teams in the EFL
Soriano moved to discuss the implementation of top-flight B teams in the wake of those discussions, which will prompt concern among league clubs.
‘This crisis can be a good opportunity for different elements of football business to get together and solve these problems,’ Soriano said.
‘There are other problems, for example the challenge of developing young players in England where B teams are not allowed. We have a development gap of boys that are 17 or 18 who don’t find the right place to develop. Then, for example, they are taken by the German teams who try to sell them back to us at 10x what they have paid.
‘This is bad and something that we needed to solve and maybe now the crisis will give us an opportunity to nudge us and get together to solve these issues.’
Premier League clubs have the chance to field an Under-21 team in the EFL Trophy but some appear to want to go one step further.
‘You take good experiences from other places in the world and you can do it,’ Soriano added. ‘There might be opportunities to add more clubs into the pyramid. Look at places like the United States, where more and more franchises are being created.
The ongoing talks between the EFL and Premier League over a £250million bailout continue
Some clubs fear an inability to trade beyond this month should a package fail to be agreed
‘I don’t know the answer but maybe we should ask if we have enough clubs or do we have more? Or can we give more resources and opportunities to clubs that already exist and have tradition to develop? It is a good time now to get all of these questions on the table.’
Soriano also mirrored Pep Guardiola’s criticism of City’s Premier League rivals for voting against the use of five substitutes this season – and suggested that the number of competitions needs to be reduced. City have won three consecutive Carabao Cup trophies from 2018.
‘There is a real problem of too many games being played by clubs,’ Soriano said.
‘Some games need to be played and we want them to be played because they excite fans and generate revenue that feed the whole part of it. Some other games don’t add value and put players at risk.
‘The welfare of players has been a problem before Covid – now it is an extreme problem. I was extremely disappointed that the Premier League decided against five substitutions.
‘We need to solve the number of games, we need to solve the economic situation of the EFL so that clubs in the EFL are sustainable. Now there is too much of a difference between the Championship and the Premier League.’
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