Whole Game Solution plans shelved after talks break down

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.
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Plans for a major overhaul of the English football pyramid appear to have been shelved after talks between the Football League and the FA have broken down.

In a statement released today (Wednesday), the EFL has confirmed it will cease discussions over the so-called 'Whole Game Solution' with "immediate effect".

It comes after the FA informed them they were no longer prepared to consider rescheduling FA Cup fixtures into midweek slots.

The proposals included plans for a League 3, which would have expanded the Football League to 80 teams. A winter break was also mooted.

The EFL says the decision has been taken with "significant regret and disappointment" and brings to an end the EFL-led debate on the possibility of the single biggest reform of the English League structure since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

In order for the Whole Game Solution to be viable, it required the English football authorities to look collectively at the fixture schedules and create additional weekends for League football.

However, after seeking clarification on the FA’s position following the recent announcement of their new international broadcasting deal, the EFL were informed that there was no longer a sufficient advantage for the FA in making the changes.

Shaun Harvey, EFL chief executive, 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.”