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League Clubs Get Their Say on B Teams and 3G Pitches

THE controversial plans for a ‘B Team League’ and the prospect of allowing synthetic 3G pitches were among the key points discussed at the Football League’s Owners’ and Executives’ Conference in Portugal.

At the meeting at the end of last week, clubs were given a presentation from FA chairman Greg Dyke about the findings of his recent report on the future of the English national team.

And it seems that clubs aren’t too keen on his proposed ‘B Team League’ idea.

Football League 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.”

There was also progress on the subject of 3G pitches which are now allowed to be used in the FA Cup. Synthetic pitches are popular in other European countries and more and more Non-League clubs are turning to ‘plastic pitches’.

Leagues One and Two gave their support for 3G pitches ‘in principle’ but Championship clubs indicated they would object to them being used in England’s second tier.

Clubs have asked for more information on synthetic pitches with the matter to be discussed formally later in the year.

Bryn Lee, the Commercial Director at Bonar Yarns who were part of the team behind Rugby club Saracens’ 3G pitch at Allianz Park, said: “The Football League AGM will hopefully mark the start of a new chapter in 3G’s life cycle within football.

“The fact Leagues One and Two have given backing in principle to the surface is huge, not just for those leagues but for Non-League football also. The Football League’s present stance on synthetic has been a major barrier to the Conference accepting 3G. Hopefully now attitudes can begin to change.

“It’s in the lower leagues where 3G can have the most positive impact, both practically and financially. For clubs who struggle with funding, 3G can be an invaluable asset to have. It seems the ghosts of the 1980s are finally being laid to rest and it’s incredibly encouraging to see attitudes to 3G changing and its popularity increasing.”

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