It's been just over two weeks since plans to radically shake-up the structure of the English Football League and some of the footballing calendar were revealed.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey wrote to all 72 clubs in mid-August asking for their thoughts on the proposals by early September.
Clubs were asked about the prospect of a winter break, restructuring the league to four groups of 20teams, the possibility of regionalising the bottom two divisions and moving FA Cup rounds into midweek slots.
Earlier this summer at our Supporters Summit, new EFL chairman Ian Lenagan said the league faced many challenges and argued that the EFL had to address fixture congestion – with the threat of UEFA sanctions becoming ever greater.
We’ve been urging clubs to consult with their supporters on the proposals. We’re pleased to report that many have pledged to do so.
Although much of the reaction from supporters on social media was hostile, a handful of clubs have spoken out publicly outlining their position and many fan groups have committed to polling their members’ opinions.
Portsmouth chief executive was damning in his assessment of the proposals.
“The outcome for us would be catastrophic,” Caitlin told Portsmouth’s The News. “Running into many hundreds of thousands of pounds lost through the reduction of four home fixtures.
“We are being told self-sufficiency is the right way to run a football club – this is our model and we agree. Yet we are going to be one of those most affected by the proposed changes.”
Other clubs across the league, such as AFC Wimbledon, Yeovil Town and Plymouth Argyle have all outlined their oppposition to the plans - or at least said more detail is needed. Acrrington Stanley owner Andy Holt was critical of the plans on his Twitter account.
Oxford United chairman Daryl Eales was also sceptical. “It all comes back to what’s the issue we’re trying to solve?” he asked in the Oxford Mail. “We need to find out much more detail on what’s underneath the proposals and what’s the real agenda behind them." And To his credit, Eales also consulted the Oxford United Supporters’ Trust (OxVox) on the issues.
As one of the largest stakeholders in the game, supporters have to have significant input into the proposals.
We’ll be meeting with the English Football League next month, along with representative fans from across the country as part of a new programme of structured dialogue between the league bodies and fans.
The Whole Game Solution proposals will be top of the agenda – and we’re sure supporters will put their views across in a constructive way.