Dyke outlines England plan but could face League snub

Frank Dalleres
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FOOTBALL Association chairman Greg Dyke is facing the threat of an embarrassing snub from the Premier League over his blueprint for overhauling the game and making England world champions within a decade.

Dyke yesterday set out his vision for improving the fortunes of the national team, and identified the dwindling number of English players starting matches in the top flight as the biggest obstacle.

He announced his intention to chair a commission, starting this month, to examine the causes and possible remedies for the malaise, and called on the Premier League and other stakeholders to join him.

The former BBC director general, who started his four-year term in July, set England the target of reaching the semi-finals of the 2020 European Championships and then winning the World Cup in Qatar two years later.

Dyke stressed he was not starting a “blame game”, adding: “This is not a criticism of the Premier League. I genuinely want to work hand in hand to try to address what I see as a serious and growing problem.”

But it is understood that the Premier League will not automatically accept Dyke’s call to join the commission and will wait for further details before asking its clubs to discuss it at their next meeting in seven days’ time.

Senior figures at the organisation are sympathetic to Dyke’s aims and accept that it is not the FA’s job to improve the quantity and quality of English players at the highest level.

However Premier League chiefs believe they are attempting to address that issue with the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) and are dismayed at the prospect of it being written off just a year into the new system.

EPPP had FA support, took three years to devise in consultation with clubs, is independently audited and costs the Premier League £85m per season. League bosses feel, therefore, that it should be given a chance.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore in July voiced his exasperation at England’s failures being pinned on his organisation.

“Clearly, we have a job to do,” he said. “We have not won the World Cup since 1966. We didn’t start until 1992. What happened between 1966 and 1992? Whose fault was that? The whole thing is immensely frustrating. It cannot be our fault on any level.”