Blackpool and Fleetwood disagree on scrapping of league revamp plan

Alex Cowdy
Alex Cowdy

The Football League’s decision to shelve its restructuring plan has been welcomed by Fleetwood Town, whereas Blackpool had been “keen” to discuss an overhaul, write MATT SCRAFTON and ROSIE SWARBRICK.

The EFL announced yesterday that its discussions with the FA over the so-called ‘Whole Game Solution’, which could have seen the League expand from three divisions to four, had been abandoned with “immediate effect”.

The talks collapsed after the FA refused to consider moving FA Cup dates to midweek.

Blackpool chief executive Alex Cowdy, who represented the club at the EFL meeting to discuss the proposals, said the Seasiders had been keen to explore any pros and cons.

He said: “The Whole Game Solution was still at a consultation stage with EFL Clubs. Like many other clubs, we were keen to discuss the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision next year ahead of the EFL Summer Conference.

“We were in favour of ruling out Premier League B teams as part of the restructure, a matter that was subsequently dropped from discussions.

“However, we were awaiting further clarity from the EFL over a number of other matters due for discussion at further consultation meetings next month.”

The proposals entailed the expansion of the Football League from 72 to 80 teams, with the introduction of a new League Three.

A winter break was also mooted.

Cowdy’s Fleetwood Town counterpart Steve Curwood is happy with yesterday’s announcement.

He said: “We are comfortable with where we sit in the football pyramid and how it works.

“We are entirely comfortable that it should stay how it is and issues with games should be looked at without a whole restructure.

“ We are happy the decision has been taken to discontinue discussions.”

Fleetwood owner Andy Pilley tweeted his agreement: “Delighted to see EFL Whole Game Solution proposal shelved. It’s not broken, so leave it alone.”

The EFL says its decision was taken with “significant regret and disappointment” and ends the debate over the biggest reform of the League structure since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.