Danny Mills, the former England defender who sits on the FA commission aiming to improve the quality of homegrown players, has urged fans and administrators to read its full report before rejecting the call for Premier League B teams to play in the Football League. The report, which Mills said was "incredibly lengthy and detailed" and runs to between 60 and 100 pages, was presented to the FA board and will be made public at Wembley on Wednesday . Rio Ferdinand, who also sat on the commission, said the introduction of B teams in a new division below League Two to give more playing time to those aged 17‑21 is an idea worth considering. Ferdinand said that allowing top clubs to operate B teams had worked in Spain and other countries and is "something to be looked at".
But the recommendation has already provoked a backlash, with some clubs rejecting the idea and fans' groups saying they would protest against it.
Some Premier League clubs believe it would do their players little good to play in the lower reaches of the Football League, but others back the plan because it would give them more control than the current loan system.
However, the Premier League is likely to call instead for more time for its new under-23 league and its £340m Elite Player Performance Plan to prove its worth rather than advocate such a large intervention in the football pyramid.
Mills claimed that leaks of the plans before the full report had been published were "a little bit selfish and irresponsible" and that the B team proposal was part of a wider package of measures that also included reforms to the loan system and quotas of homegrown players.
"This is a four-pronged attack. You either have all four or none at all and let it rot as it is. B teams will be one element. You ask any of the senior players what is lacking most between 17 and 21? It's competitive football. So how do you create competitive football where the clubs can control their players still?" he said, arguing that watching their teams play against a Manchester United B team would be attractive to lower-league fans.
"There are multiple facets to this. Until you understand how this fits into everything else, you need to read it, digest it and then start to form opinions. If we then get slaughtered, we get slaughtered."
The former Leeds United defender warned that without major reform, the number of English players in the top flight would continue to decline.
"This first part of it is all just a decision from the commission of what we think will help English football, after that it is then going to be down to the leagues and everyone else to discuss," he said.
Mills urged radical action. "The biggest problem we have is tradition and change. Everybody is adverse to change in this country," he said, pointing to the fact that most other major European countries allow B teams to play lower down the league pyramid.
"We have got to look at everybody, right down to the seventh tier of non-league football, to see how it is going to affect every team," said Mills, who said that the Premier League and Football League had been kept informed during every step of an exhaustive process.
"There are 650 people who have been talked to, Premier League clubs, chief executives. Over the course of the last six months we have decided if we are going to change English football for the better, because it is in decline, this is the way forward."
Ferdinand said that allowing top flight clubs to operate B teams had worked in Spain and other European countries was "something to be looked at".
"There are a lot of clubs in a very bad position financially, and this would be a way of helping that as well. Alongside that, players would be able to go down and get experience with the knowledge their parent clubs have a real hold on what is going on there, and they will be playing similar football to what they are going back to," said the Manchester United defender. "You get loan players who go out and a lot of time they play less games than they would if they were in the under-21s league back at their club. The parent clubs would have a lot more control of their players if they went away to a B team."
Besides Dyke, Ferdinand and Mills, the other panel members are Roy Hodgson, the former England manager Glenn Hoddle, Crewe's director of football Dario Gradi, the Football League chairman Greg Clarke, the League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, the Professional Footballers' Association chairman Ritchie Humphreys and the FA vice-chairman Roger Burden.