Football Association chairman Greg Dyke unveiled a raft of proposals from his England commission report at Wembley on Thursday, but is bound to face strong resistance from supporters against the introduction of B teams in a new "League Three".
Dyke has set a target of increasing the number of English players in the Premier League from 32% to 45% by the 2022 World Cup, and plans on overhauling the work permit system and increasing the number of home-grown players in squads.
The target, which includes increasing the number of English players playing regularly in the Premier League from 66 currently to 90 by the year 2022, was described as "ambitious but realistic" by Dyke.
The most controversial proposal, though, would be establishing a new League Three in 2016-17 made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference. Of the B team squad, 19 of the 25 should be under the age of 21 and 20 of the 25 should qualify for the home-grown rule and no non-EU players allowed.
"They have no problems with me mentioning them on this - so quite a lot of clubs recognise the problem they have got," Dyke added. "The evidence from clubs combined with our own investigations is the lack of playing opportunities for young English players aged between 18 and 21.
"Many of the clubs we spoke to called this the 'Bermuda Triangle' or 'black hole' of English football.
"A B team is distinct from a feeder club, it is part of that club and as a result of having B teams 18 to 21-year-olds Spanish players play two and half times more competitive football than their English counterparts."
Dyke's speech promised to challenge question of Premier League & club owners' dominance. Ends up offering them a B League and more loans.— David Conn (@david_conn) May 8, 2014
The commission has already received criticism for excluding supporters' groups from the proposed reforms and the FA have again been accused of elitism for prioritising Premier League clubs' futures.
We are getting demands to put aside time to give a chance for fans to debate #facommission and ideas for change at our Summit this year.— Supporters Direct (@SuppDirect) May 8, 2014
Many clubs at the top and bottom of the professional game have already expressed deep reservations about the B league plan.
The report states: "There should be 90 English players playing over 50% of minutes in the Premier League (or any other top five European league) compared with 66 today - of these 30 should be playing in the top six teams in the Premier League compared with the 18 today.
Long overdue for Eng football to have this kind of debate, but you can count me as one of those who opposes radicalism of Lge 3, B teams etc— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) May 8, 2014
"This is still lower than the figures being achieved in Germany and Spain today but it would take English football back to a figure last achieved in 2000".
Gutted. Missed everything Danny Mills said then. There appeared to be a prolonged loss of c̶r̶e̶d̶i̶b̶i̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ sound on my TV.— Chris Bascombe (@_ChrisBascombe) May 8, 2014
In terms of home-grown players allowed in each Premier League squad, the Commission recommends a phased reduction in the number of non home-grown players in top-flight squads from 17 to 12 - starting in 2016-17 and reaching that target by 2021.
In terms of work permits, the Commission proposes a cap on two non-EU players per squad, and that no players on overseas visas should be allowed to play below the Premier League, nor loaned to any other club in England.
Can someone explain to Greg Dyke that the FA is meant to protect/work for ALL football, not just national team & top clubs. @STANDfanzine— NotWorthThat (@NotWorthThat) May 8, 2014
Dyke said: "This decline is a problem in countries right across Europe but is a significantly bigger problem in England than anywhere else - and if the trend continues we fear for the future of the English team.
"If this cannot be reversed, a future England manager will have fewer and fewer top level English players from which to choose."
My thoughts on this B team scenario - It's all about ME,ME & ME from the FA/Prem & to hell with the rest of you. Cant be allowed to happen!— Darragh MacAnthony (@DMAC102) May 8, 2014
England manager Roy Hodgson said: "I welcome the proposals and I know that the chairman - and indeed everyone who is passionate about English football - would strongly advocate the findings and recommendations.
4) We don’t have to agree on everything, but I urge all England fans to read the report. The debate needs to be had...— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) May 8, 2014
"We all have a responsibility when called to answer the question, 'how can we provide a better platform for the young England players of the future?'"
Dyke also announced a proposal for the development of "strategic loan partnerships" between a club in the Premier League or Championships and another club in the lower leagues.