Pompey delight over scrapping of Whole Game Solution

Mark Catlin has toasted the scrapping of football's controversial Whole Game Solution.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 11:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:23 pm
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Football League-backed proposals centred on implementing a winter break, switching two FA Cup rounds to midweek and creating five divisions, each consisting of 20 clubs.

It was estimated its successful adoption could cost Pompey between £600,000 and £800,000 every season in lost revenue.

However, this morning the Football League announced the Whole Game Solution had been ditched.

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Crucially, the Football Association had pulled their support because they were unwilling to reallocate FA Cup fixtures.

Having last month signed an £820m international broadcasting deal to televise FA Cup matches abroad, they were adamant games remained on Saturdays.

What followed has been the demise of the Whole Game Solution – a blueprint Pompey have long been outspoken critics of.

Chief executive Catlin said: ‘In its current state, the FA are no longer pursuing the Whole Game Solution they have worked on for the last six months.

‘I am absolutely delighted, not for me personally, but for Portsmouth Football Club.

‘Any acceptance of the Whole Game Solution would have had massive negative ramifications for the club.

‘As a club, we saw any reduction in relevant teams in leagues as a barrier to progression.

‘The climbing of the pyramid was always our biggest concern and potentially there would be a season or two of transition where teams are relegated and not many promoted.

‘A big worry for us was not only long term but even short to mid-term. In the transition period our attempts to climb higher up the pyramid were going to be thwarted.

‘I am not surprised the Whole Game Solution has been scrapped, I was always quietly confident when it came to a vote there wouldn’t be the required number of clubs supporting this.

‘It was my belief there was a compelling argument not to proceed with it, even without the recent FA broadcasting deal. I know other clubs who feel the same.

‘As a club, we will always stand up and have a voice if we do not believe it is in the best interests of the football club.’

It represents another blow to Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey.

He is already under fire for the revamp which has spawned the Checkatrade Trophy, a competition which has not been embraced.

During group stage fixtures, Pompey have twice recorded their lowest post-war attendances at Fratton Park.

However, the Whole Game Solution was perceived as the overriding threat, championing ripping up the existing Football League structure.

In the process, there would have been four fewer home matches each season.

Catlin added: ‘It can be brought back on to the agenda at any time but, as we have seen, the EFL do have a robust process of debate among clubs which takes a substantial amount of time.

‘It’s not going to be happening in the immediate future, which is a great relief.’