Football League clubs want more time to consider controversial new proposals

The response to Football League proposals have not largely been positive

The response to Football League proposals have not largely been positive

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The large number of Football League clubs want more time and information before deciding whether to support proposals for a radical restructure.

Plans put forward by the Football League suggest increasing the number of teams from 72 to 80 and creating an additional, fourth division below the Premier League.

Chesterfield chief Chris Turner with boss Danny Wilson

Chesterfield chief Chris Turner with boss Danny Wilson

The 72 current Football League teams - plus Cheltenham and Grimsby who have both been promoted from the National League - were contacted about the possible changes, to a mixed response.

A total of 28 clubs felt it was too early to comment, while five welcomed the discussions, four opposed the plans and the remaining 39 clubs were unavailable.

Chris Turner, chief executive of League One Chesterfield, advocated making positive changes to the game, but was sceptical about the motives for the proposals.

"I am in support of changes if they improve the game but my big concern is that the Premier League clubs are looking at ways of enabling their fringe players to gain experience of playing competitive football," he said.

"Is that is what is behind the proposal to add another division?"

Championship Preston, League One Bradford and League Two sides Accrington and Hartlepool are the clubs currently against the possible changes.

Hartlepool chairman Gary Coxall said: "From what I've read, the proposals don't support League One and League Two at all."

Bradford chairman Mark Lawn said: "If we were voting now I'd be voting against it. The only reason I can think of is that, yet again, the Championship clubs want it."

The Football League believes the potential new structure would alleviate fixture congestion by removing almost all midweek matches. The 80 teams would be divided evenly between the four divisions, which would mean eight fewer fixtures for the sides currently in the Championship, League One and League Two.

Other clubs - including Championship pair QPR and Ipswich, and League One Millwall - have been more receptive to the idea.

Ipswich managing director Ian Milne told his club's website: "In principle the idea is good and would de-clutter a very crowded fixture schedule.

"We would have to understand all the financial implications and we would also seek the opinions of the club's supporters before deciding on our stance but we welcome the proposals for discussion."

QPR CEO Lee Hoos said: "I think it is an interesting idea and worth exploring. Consultation on the subject will allow everyone to get their views across. I applaud the Football League for trying to be progressive and leading from the front."

A Millwall spokesperson said: "We believe it to be positive that the Football League has brought these proposals to the table and welcome the debate they will cause amongst members and fans of all clubs."

A decision on the proposal will be made at the Football League's annual general meeting in June 2017, and 90 per cent of the 72 clubs must support it for it to go ahead. If successful, the new format will be introduced ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Chris Turner, chief executive of League One Chesterfield, advocated making positive changes to the game, but was sceptical about the motives for the proposals.

"I am in support of changes if they improve the game but my big concern is that the Premier League clubs are looking at ways of enabling their fringe players to gain experience of playing competitive football," he said.

"Is that is what is behind the proposal to add another division?"

How the clubs have reacted:

Championship clubs: 24

Too early to comment: 5 - Birmingham, Brentford, Brighton, Derby, Huddersfield

Welcome discussions: 2 - Ipswich, QPR

Against the proposals: 1 - Preston

Not available: 16 - Blackburn, Bolton, Bristol City, Burnley, Cardiff, Charlton, Fulham, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, MK Dons, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves

League One clubs: 24

Too early to comment: 6 - Coventry, Doncaster, Sheffield United, Swindon, Walsall, Wigan

Welcome discussions: 3 - Chesterfield, Millwall, Shrewsbury

Not available: 14 - Blackpool, Barnsley, Burton, Bury, Colchester, Crewe, Fleetwood, Gillingham, Oldham, Peterborough, Port Vale, Rochdale, Southend, Scunthorpe

Against the proposals: 1 - Bradford

League Two and National League clubs: 26

Too early to comment: 16 - AFC Wimbledon, Barnet, Cheltenham, Crawley, Dagenham, Exeter, Grimsby, Leyton Orient, Mansfield, Morecambe, Newport, Northampton, Notts County, Plymouth, Wycombe, York

Welcome discussions: 0

Not available: 8 - Bristol Rovers, Cambridge, Carlisle, Luton, Oxford, Portsmouth, Stevenage, Yeovil

Against the proposals: 2 - Accrington, Hartlepool

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