Catlin: EFL ruling is massive positive for Pompey

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler

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Mark Catlin has branded the EFL’s decision to reject Premier League B teams and non-English clubs a ‘massive positive’.

And Pompey’s chief executive is also confident the right decision will be made on the fate of the much-maligned Checkatrade Trophy.

Catlin was present at a meeting of all existing 72 Football League member clubs on Thursday.

There, the proposed plan to introduce Premier League B teams and those from outside England into the rebranded EFL – as part of a planned revamp – was definitively ruled out.

The move, which was opposed by the Blues, formed part of the EFL’s blueprint to expand to a fifth tier by 2019-20, with 100 teams over five divisions.

But the inclusion of both in the new-look format was quickly dismissed.

Clubs also expressed a desire to play through a winter break should one be introduced in the English game.

Catlin said: ‘It’s a massive positive that EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey and the board of the EFL have listened to clubs’ concerns, specifically over B teams and the need for a winter break for League One and League Two.

‘Discussions moving forward now will be off the table – I think that is a massive positive.

‘It takes away a lot of concerns, worries and objections from a lot of clubs.

‘And now we can move on with a few of the other issues that still remain with the Whole Game Solution.

‘Specifically, in our regard, I don’t see how you are going to square the circle in our aspiration to compete at the highest level possible.

‘Any limitation or reduction in clubs in the higher leagues does that – so for us that is always going to be a line in the sand.

‘Saying that, it’s refreshing to know there are going to be a series of fan engagements between the EFL and support groups.

‘And some of the more contentious issues such as B teams and Scottish teams entering our league system have been taken off any discussions now.’

Catlin is now hopeful a sensible decision can be reached on the future of the Checkatrade Trophy, following this season’s decision to trial Premier League Academy sides in the competition.

A vote on the future of the tournament is set for the new year.

‘You should never criticise someone for trying something,’ added Catlin.

‘We have to be respectful that whether we agreed with it or not, the majority of football clubs voted for a one-year trial period.

‘You have to judge success or failure on that trial period – I am confident that will happen.

‘I speak to clubs on a daily basis and know their feedback.

‘We will just have to respect clubs’ decisions when it’s voted on again in the new year.’

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