Date: 27th July 2016 at 7:40am
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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has been speaking about the introduction of Premier League 2 for the 2016/17 season, and he’s also spoken about how it should end the worries of some clubs in the Football League who believe recent changes were first steps towards professional top flight B Teams coming into the football pyramid.

Along with plenty of talk about changes to the Football League pyramid and discussions about the possibility for a fifth tier – reducing every tier to a 20 side division – the introduction of 16 Category 1 academy sides into the EFL Cup this year as a trial specifically saw worries aired that rich Premier League clubs could be looking to open the door to proper B Teams in the future.

PremierLeague.com have him quoted as saying that with changes now made, he was hopeful we’d see more than the record 67 debuts the top flight had last year, but importantly that with the changes made, it should end all B Team talk because the new system for Under 23 football removes any necessity for that step in the future.

With changes to the league set up of Under football now, the wider Games Programme that has been introduced also sees the Premier League Cup, the Premier League International Cup and with this season’s trial in conjunction with the Football League, the EFL Trophy.

For those not aware.

The International Cup grows to accomodate 24 clubs this year, 12 domestic U23 teams and 12 equivalent international sides.

The Premier League Cup goes from a straight knockout competition, and takes on the UEFA Champions League format from this season, with group stages and knockout rounds for the 32 sides involved. Eight groups with four teams to begin with.

And as we know, the EFL Cup involvement will see a selected 16 sides face off against League 1 and 2 opposition in what was formerly the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

The new Under 23 age range though does allow for four overage players to be involved, including one goalkeeper.

Largely irrelevant admittedly unless readers have an interest in that direction, so quickly to Scudamore’s words.

‘This is not university after school for the players. This is a first job. This is the beginning and the end of B teams – this is it. That’s the whole point of it, to be honest. We are absolutely consistent on our view about no B teams in the regular Football League. Yes, of course we know some of our clubs would like B teams. We look abroad and we see the benefit of B teams. It’s just for the English football structure and pyramid, it doesn`t work, and so this is it. We can console all these worried Football League clubs` supporters. This isn`t the thin end of the wedge, this is the wedge.’

Music to many boardroom ears I would imagine in the Football League and possibly the Premier League as well with added costs for an additional B side, and with Scudamore’s words now well covered on the topic of B Teams, when clubs meet again to discuss potential changes to the pyramid in the future – as is already planned – then Football League representatives won’t let Scudamore forget his words.

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