• Clubs fear quality would be too low at level proposed
• Premier League supports beefed up under-23 league
The chances of one of the flagship proposals of the FA chairman Greg Dyke's commission to improve the prospects of domestic homegrown talent – a new "B team league" – could be scuppered before it has even been unveiled.
The possible introduction of a new division for "B teams" from Premier League and Championship clubs in the lower reaches of the Football League, to be discussed by the FA board on Wednesday, will face substantial opposition from within the game.
The proposal is the most controversial of a welter of ideas that have emerged from the commission, based on the recommendations of its 10 members and more than 300 interviews with stakeholders across the game.
But the idea of either introducing a new division beneath League Two or merging League Two with the Conference and introducing new feeder teams to a regional structure similar to that in Germany is not likely to find favour with either the Premier League or the Football League.
There is a general acceptance that more must be done to improve the amount of competitive football played by promising young players in Premier League academies between the ages of 17 and 21. But Premier League clubs, some of whom have lobbied for the introduction of feeder clubs, fear that the quality would be too low at the level proposed.
It is understood that the Premier League also has reservations over the proposal, questioning whether the controversy and upheaval it would create would be worth it for an intervention that is far from guaranteed to improve the quality of young players coming through.
It would prefer to see whether its own beefed up under-23 league, to be a more high profile affair from next season with more television coverage and a push to attract bigger crowds, can fill the clear gap in the development of young players.
Fans groups also oppose the suggestion. The Football Supporters Federation said in a statement on Tuesday that an earlier poll of its members found that 86% were against the idea of top-flight clubs having feeder sides in lower divisions.
"It's not just fans of Football League clubs who'll oppose this, we think most top-flight fans will too. Every club has its own identity and the smallest club is every bit as important to its own fans as the biggest clubs are to their followers," it read. "This idea will get a massive thumbs down from fans – don't even bother trying."
Football League clubs, meanwhile, fear the distortion of competition and question whether it would have a negative impact on the football pyramid. They would also lose out through the loss of loan players from Premier League clubs. The commission was unveiled by Dyke in September last year to address some of the long-standing structural issues facing English football, including the rapidly contracting number of homegrown players in the top flight and the standard of grassroots facilties.
When he unveiled the commission, Dyke cited statistics that showed the number of English players in the starting lineups of top-flight clubs had slumped from 69% to 32% in the past 20 years. He also repeated warnings from those who feared the English national side could drift into irrelevance if the problem was not addressed.
The review, which originally promised to report in January, was broadly welcomed but some felt that Dyke had overlooked the findings of a recent wide ranging review into the supply line for domestic talent that resulted in the £340m Elite Player Performance Plan in favour of asking the same questions again. The Commission was also embroiled in controversy over its make up, facing criticism from the FA director Heather Rabbatts over the lack of non-white faces. The Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was added to the panel at a later date.
Other proposals expected to go before the FA board include a shake-up of the loan system, a plan to increase the number of age-specific coaches and changes to the homegrown player quotas operated by clubs in both the Premier League and the Football League. The FA is unlikely to go public with any of the proposals this week for fear of overshadowing Roy Hodgson's squad announcement for the World Cup on Monday. Some within the FA had argued for the Commission's conclusions to be put on the back burner until after the World Cup but Dyke is keen to press ahead.
Hodgson, who ironically has been talking up the young players in his thinking for the World Cup, has indicated that he will avoid getting drawn into the debate - despite being one of the 10 members of the panel. Besides Dyke, Ferdinand and Hodgson, the other panel members are former England manager Glenn Hoddle, former England defender Danny Mills, Crewe director of football Dario Gradi, Football League chairman Greg Clarke, League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, Professional Footballers' Association chairman Ritchie Humphreys and FA vice chairman Roger Burden.