Pompey chief rejects B team compromises

Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Mark Catlin has dismissed the latest B team proposals and warned no compromises should be accepted.

The Football League have this week presented alternative plans to Greg Dyke’s controversial League Three blueprint.

This involves 16 B teams competing in a revamped Johnstone’s Paint Trophy over a two-year trial period.

Introduced by Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey, the proposals detail the competition starting with 16 groups of four with one B team in each group.

Sides would play each other once with the 16 winners qualifying for knockout stages.

As a League Two side, this would affect Pompey and seriously impede their ambitions of reaching another Wembley final.

Catlin has been a highly-vocal critic of the B team plans initially raised by Football Association (FA) chairman Dyke earlier this month.

And, ahead of next week’s Football League AGM, Pompey’s chief executive has blasted the latest twist.

Catlin said: ‘I am morally opposed to B teams entering another competition that affects the integrity of Football League clubs and its structures.

‘I will be doing everything in my power to convince anyone and everyone that this is a recipe for disaster and needs to be put to bed.

‘You cannot compromise. I have read the plans and, in my opinion, we should just say no.

‘This is not a grey area. It is a black and white area and will be a creeping process if allowed in.

‘You can read all the plans you want, the bottom line is I am totally against any proposals that allow B teams or nursery clubs to infiltrate the league and cup structure.

‘The Football League has just celebrated 125 years of existence and during that time people running the clubs have been custodians.

‘I realise time marches on but the stage we are at now is such a seismic shift.

‘I can only hope people see through the plans for what they are.

‘There is no point in putting short-term financial gain above long-term interests of the Football League and its member clubs.’

The issues of B teams and League Three will be debated at the Football League’s annual general meeting, which starts on Thursday, June 5.

Catlin will be present – alongside Pompey chairman Iain McInnes – at the two-day event – which this year is to be held in Faro, Portugal.

Dyke and Harvey will also be in attendance as the 72 clubs will be given an opportunity to vote on the two tabled plans.

Catlin added: ‘In all things in life it is right and proper that the board of the Football League consult the member clubs during the decision process.

‘Nothing has been agreed or decided yet and there are debates to be had.’