'Whole Game Solution' scrapped as The Football League and Football Association row over FA Cup

The English Football League has scrapped its radical plans to restructure the league pyramid after the Football Association refused to consider scheduling FA Cup games in midweek slots.

Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 11:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 16:02 pm
Fans at Eastleigh's FA Cup replay against Swindon Town last night

The EFL's 72 clubs have been debating the Whole Game Solution since the end of last season, with the main proposal being a move to five divisions of 20 teams but also a commitment to playing as many league fixtures as possible at weekends.

That plan depended on the FA being willing to stage FA Cup games during the week but its new £800m deal for the international broadcasting rights for the world's oldest cup competition means it has promised to keep cup games in weekend slots.

In a statement issued via its website and social media channels, the EFL said the executive board's decision to "cease discussions on the Whole Game Solution" had been taken "with significant regret and disappointment".

It blamed the collapse of the plan for the biggest reforms to the league structure since the formation of the Premier League in 1992 squarely on the FA's refusal to compromise on the scheduling of FA Cup fixtures.

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EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "As a result of the FA's decision, the board has been left with no option but to end the Whole Game Solution discussions as, in its current form, it is no longer viable.

"If the weekend slots are not available, then there is simply no way we can meet the financial conditions (to be no worse off) as outlined at the very outset.

"The stance the FA has adopted has brought the discussions to a premature end, before fully understanding what the financial outcome from the creation of a new distribution model could be.

"If the FA are willing to change its position then we are, of course, open to re-engaging in what is a hugely important debate that was designed to help shape the future of football in this country."