‘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’s chief executive Ferran Soriano has called for Premier League B teams to be allowed to join the EFL.
Football League clubs are facing financial meltdown as the Covid restrictions keep supporters out of stadiums. Talks continue between the EFL and Premier League over a £250million bailout — but that package is likely to come with conditions.
Now Soriano has suggested restructuring the football pyramid could mitigate the EFL’s cash issues, adding that allowing top-flight B teams would prevent clubs on the continent snapping up the best British talent.
Ferran Soriano has talked up the prospect of Premier League clubs entering B teams in the EFL
‘One of the challenges is the EFL is a business that is not sustainable enough,’ Soriano said. ‘They were discussing ways to improve it, they were discussing salary caps, now they were sort of nudged to solve the existing problems because of the crisis. It’s a good opportunity for the different elements of the football business to get together and solve the problems.
‘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 who are 17 or 18 who don’t find the right place to develop. Then, for example, they are taken by German teams who try to sell them back to us at 10 times 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 get together to solve these issues.’
The ongoing talks between the EFL and Premier League over a £250million bailout continue
Premier League clubs can field Under 21 teams in the EFL Trophy, but some want to go a step further, which is sure to raise concern among Football League teams. ‘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 the United States, where more and more franchises are being created.
‘Maybe we should ask if we have enough clubs or do we want more? Or can we give more resources and opportunities to develop to clubs that already exist and have tradition? It is a good time now to get all of these questions on the table.’
Soriano also backed Pep Guardiola’s criticism of City’s Premier League rivals for voting against the use of five substitutes this season — and argued the number of competitions needs to be reduced.
Some clubs fear an inability to trade beyond this month should a package fail to be agreed
‘There is a real problem of too many games,’ Soriano said. ‘Some we want to be played because they excite fans and generate revenue that feed the whole of it. Some other games don’t add value and put players at risk.
‘The welfare of players was 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. There is too much of a difference between the Championship and the Premier League.’