Pompey: EFL Trophy changes are dangerous

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Rose in action against AFC Wimbledon last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Date set for Pompey’s Carabao Cup first-round tie against AFC Wimbledon

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POMPEY have voiced their fears over the ‘dangerous’ changes to the EFL Trophy.

And Mark Catlin has promised the Blues will continue to resist B teams being included in their competitions.

That’s following a move to introduce Academy teams into the tournament – formerly the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – being approved at the Football League’s AGM last week.

The news has been met with outrage from many sections of supporters across the game.

Catlin, a vocal opponent of B teams, can understand fans’ anger and is concerned about the precedent the move will set.

Pompey were one of a third of League Two teams who voted against the proposal.

And Catlin made it clear they will strongly stick to that stance.

He said: ‘It’s extremely disappointing.

‘We, as a club, believe using B teams or under-21 teams affects the credibility of any competition.

‘Our board has made it clear consistently they are against B teams in our competitions.

‘As such, we argued and voted against the proposal and I was very vocal in airing that view.

‘I’ve spent time at a Spanish club and seen first hand the damage B teams can do to the integrity of a competition.

‘I can understand those who see this is a dangerous precedent.

‘That’s why I argued for this not to go ahead.

‘But we are a single member in a 72-member organisation and it was a democratic vote.

‘People look at the reliance clubs have on the Premier League financially. Perhaps that had an influence on the way people voted.

‘Assurances have been given this is a one-year pilot scheme. That was the deciding factor for a lot of people, but I’m sceptical of that.

‘Portsmouth Football Club see this is a dangerous route to go down.

‘Hopefully this isn’t a precedent for the future and we’ll continue to fight against this moving forward.

‘We will fight any further incursions into our competitions as vigorously as we can.’

The Football League have stated the reason for introducing B teams is to help the development of home-grown players.

Catlin is intrigued to see if that will be the case.

He said: ‘I made it clear I felt this would have an adverse effect from supporters and there could be apathy towards the competition moving forward as a result.

‘It was also made clear the FA, Premier League and EFL are now looking to work together a lot more closely for the greater good of the national team.

‘Considering the whole point of this is to give young English players the chance to play competitive football to help the national team, it will be interesting to see how many players are English in these sides.’