Feed the Rich? Feeder clubs, have your say.

FA Chairman Greg Dyke’s commission on the future of the England Team will report soon on its findings.

The national body is investigating ways to encourage the development of player talent and specifically why there is a dearth of English talent operating in the English Premier League.

Feeder Clubs

Currently the percentage of English players making the starting line up in Premier League matches has fallen from 69% to just 32%. This is clearly a major cause for concern and Dyke said: “The issue, quite simply, is this: In the future it’s quite possible we won’t have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in this country or elsewhere in the world.”

Whilst many will agree that something should be done to at least try and understand why the number of English players getting regular game time in the top flight is so low, one particular proposal which is being investigated by the commission is likely to be controversial amongst football supporters, and could have a direct impact on Charlton.

Dyke’s commission will look into the possibility of adopting a system of feeder clubs – or “B” teams – within the structure of the Football League. This is fairly common in Spain, with Real Madrid (Castilla) and Barcelona (Barcelona B) both operating feeder clubs in the second division of Spanish football and is also a device used by Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in the German league structure.

Currently in England the use of an external feeder team in the true sense of the word is prohibited. Teams form loose, informal associations for a number of reasons from the hope of identifying talent from a particular region to the use of a particular European country as a way of potential players earning EU workers rights quicker and thus being free to come and ply their trade on these shores without having to go through the UK’s strict visa rules.

Arsene Wenger has come out in support of the idea being introduced to the English game saying “we have 45 players between 16 and 21. You need to keep 20 from 19 to 21. Among this 20 not many have a realistic chance to play one day for the (Arsenal) first team…'It would be better for them to play somewhere. They know as well they will never play for the Arsenal first team or Manchester first team. It is demoralising for them to be there.”

Supporters Direct lead the opposition to the introduction of feeder teams saying “it’s an idea that undermines clubs as community and sporting assets, and which just reinforces the stockpiling of talent by a small elite of clubs”.

So what does this mean for Charlton ?

Looking at the models currently employed abroad, it’s unlikely that Charlton would ever be in a position where it itself became a feeder club. However, given that feeder clubs would likely be banned, as in Spain, from competing in the same division as their parent, there is a very good chance that the second tier of English football could soon become the playground of B teams who would potentially have access to far greater resources than their rivals. In addition to the massive gap in the Championship between clubs such as our own and those who have large incomes from parachute payments as a result of relegation from the Premier League it would seem that removing the restrictions on feeder clubs would be another blow for those who are trying to develop a sustainable financial model and the overall competitiveness of the Championship would deteriorate further as the gap between the haves and the have nots grows.

What do you think ? Have your say.

The commission is still investigating the idea of feeder clubs and before they report back with concrete proposals they have asked for fans to share their views and opinions on the subject.  There are a number of ways to make your voice heard, there will be much discussion both here and also on Charlton social media platforms but if you have strong feelings on this emotive subject then you have until the second of January to submit evidence and opinions to Greg Dyke’s commission right here;


CS (28.12.13 - small revision on first version, making clear there are no concrete proposals at present)