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Whole Game Solution ruled out

16 November 2016

The EFL have released the following statement regarding the Whole Game Solution.

The EFL Board has today announced that they will cease discussions on the Whole Game Solution with immediate effect after the Football Association (FA) informed them they were no longer prepared to consider rescheduling FA Cup fixtures into midweek slots.

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.”

What is the Whole Game Solution?

First announced in May 2016, the Whole Game Solution was designed to tackle some of the primary issues faced by the EFL’s 72 clubs, as well as more widely throughout football by both the Premier League and the FA.

Since the commencement of the debate in the summer, the EFL has been asking its clubs to give full consideration to a number of issues including divisional restructure and fixture scheduling. As part of the consultation, the prospect of Premier League B teams and clubs from other associations playing in the EFL were ruled out. In addition, a number of principles were established to protect the position of EFL clubs.

These were:

· Clubs were to be protected financially and should have been preferably in a better financial position as a result of any changes
· Promotion to and relegation from the Premier League would be retained at three places
· There would be no relegation out of the EFL in season 2018-19
· EFL clubs were required to support the final proposal

The discussion was focused on reorganising the domestic league system into five divisions and a final proposal was due to be developed in time for February 2017 before a vote at the June 2017 EFL AGM.

Primary benefits for the EFL:

· To increase distributable revenue to EFL clubs
· To improve the format of EFL competitions
· To improve fixture sequencing for EFL clubs
· To maximise the number of weekend/bank holiday fixtures

The benefits for the professional game:

- Increasing the prospect of success for clubs in European competitions
- Increasing the prospect of success for England teams at all levels
- Avoiding problematic fixture clashes with UEFA competitions
- To create a mid-season break for international players

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