Football: English Football League blames FA for ending restructuring plan

LONDON (AFP) - The English Football League (EFL) said on Wednesday that it had scrapped overhaul plans after the Football Association (FA) refused to schedule FA Cup ties only in midweek and never at the weekends.

The EFL is responsible for the 72 clubs below the elite Premier League, which are split into three divisions - The Championship, League One and League Two.

EFL chiefs wanted to move to five divisions of 20 teams as part of their Whole Game Solution.

Their argument was that this would reduce the number of midweek games and so see more fixtures played at weekends.

But they said that scheme was dependent on the FA, English football's ultimate governing body, scheduling its showpiece FA Cup knockout games in midweek.

However, part of the FA's new overseas broadcast rights deal for the FA Cup, worth a reported £820 million (S$1.44 billion), involves maintaining weekend ties in world football's oldest senior knockout competition.

"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," said EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.

"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."