Financially struggling English clubs from outside the Premier League may have to consider tie-ups with top-flight sides after the coronavirus period, a former Football Association chief has suggested.
Dan Ashworth served as FA technical director until departing after the 2018 World Cup to join Brighton and Hove Albion, where he holds the same job title.
He was involved in talks while at the national governing body that took in discussions about B teams and feeder clubs, but in 2017 said he could not see the shape of the English game “changing anytime soon”.
The English Football League (EFL) also took a strong stance against the notion of B teams, at a time when it was suggested an extra tier could be added in a restructuring plan.
However, clubs are facing up to unprecedented hardship because of the Covid-19 crisis, with football suspended and little hope that spectators will be allowed inside stadiums until 2021 at the earliest.
It could mean many clubs are left with crippling debts and others go out of existence, potentially leaving holes to fill in the EFL’s competitions, which may create space for B teams of Premier League clubs.
Premier League could fund B teams and loan clubs
Those teams from the Championship, League One and League Two that survive might welcome the prospect of being propped up by elite clubs, who are fighting to protect their huge broadcast revenue.
Ashworth, quoted widely in the UK media, said: “The sort of things we explored a number of years ago, during my time at the FA, were strategic loan clubs, B teams or partner clubs.
“Maybe, just maybe, things like that come back on the table. If there is a shortage of money and everybody has to cut their cloth accordingly then maybe there’re ways we can share resources and help one another.
“Ground sharing is one that has been looked at before, artificial surfaces that can be used for concerts and training. You could have women’s and men’s games in the same venue.”