A EUROPEAN B LEAGUE?……….Don McMahon
With a footnote at the end in regards to Arsenal’s entry into the Uefa Youth League this year.
What about a European reserve league where all top 5 teams from LaLiga, the EPL, Seria A, etc. could enter a reserve team using loanee, youth, reserve and bench-warmers (or recuperating players) to compete.
If one or more top 5 teams didn’t want to enter a team, then the 6th, 7th place teams etc. would be offered this possibility. The following rules could be used to manage this league:
1) No healthy starting 11 player ( one who has started at least 5 times before Xmas)could play and the reserve team would have to be named in advance of the season, with the possibility of 4-5 changes during the season.
2) No reserve team could compete in any European tournament (CL, EL, etc.),
3) Suspensions would carry over into their home league competitions but not cautions,
4) The competition would be on a home and away basis,
5) The winner of this league would receive a trophy and prize money would be given to the top 3 teams,
6) Home country FIFA referee candidates would be used, so a home game for Arsenal B would be officiated by an English candidate FIFA referee and assistants,
7) Any reserve team player could move up and down provided they didn’t play 5 full games in either the first or second part of the season for their first team,
8) Loan players could be used as well but would be required to play a minimum of 5 first team games each half season for a season total of 10 games (on the bench or on the field),
9) There would be no homegrown players’ regulations whatsoever and amateur players could be used as well provided they were at least 16 years old at the time of their playing for the B team,
10) To liven up the competition a little, there could be a FRIENDS Cup competition where the first teams would play against the B teams in this league, and the winner would be awarded a trophy and prize money for the top 3 finishers. It could be held over a 3-4 weekend period before the start of each season,
11) Eligible players could also play for the under 18’s, and under 21’s or whatever competition their home FA provides.
It seems to me to be a simple and attractive solution to providing reserve or bench-warmer players with a competitive opportunity to stay fit and show off their stuff as well. Positive suggestions are welcome.
Footnote: Uefa Youth League
The Uefa Youth League is not what is being proposed above, but it is a competition that is now announced to become a permanent Uefa competition starting this season with 64 clubs involved. Curiously the official web site for the competition just speaks of “under age” players but I think that means under 19s.
The 32 UEFA Champions League group stage youth teams will retain the group stage format, with the group winners advancing to the round of 16 and the runners-up advancing to the play-offs.
Additionally the 32 youth domestic champions will play two rounds of two-legged ties, with the eight winners advancing to the play-offs, where they play a single match at home against the Champions League path runners-up.
The round of 16 onwards will retain the same format of single-leg ties as before.
Arsenal thus qualified in the first group along with the other Champions League clubs.
Other participating clubs are
- Villarreal (ESP),
- Middlesbrough (ENG),
- Schalke 04 (GER),
- Torino (ITA),
- Stade de Reims (FRA),
- Spartak Moskva (RUS),
- Ajax (NED),
- Anderlecht (BEL),
- Beşiktaş (TUR),
- Servette (SUI),
- Salzburg (AUT),
- Příbram (CZE),
- Viitorul (ROU),
- APOEL (CYP),
- Midtjylland (DEN),
- Legia Warszawa (POL),
- FC Minsk (BLR),
- Celtic (SCO),
- Elfsborg (SWE),
- Litex Lovech (BUL),
- Brann (NOR),
- Rad (SRB),
- Domžale (SVN),
- Senica (SVK),
- Zimbru Chisinau (MDA),
- Ravan (AZE),
- Saburtalo (GEO),
- Aktobe (KAZ),
- Željezničar (BIH),
- HJK Helsinki (FIN),
- Stjarnan (ISL)*
Arsenal are thus in Group F: Bayern München (GER), Arsenal (ENG), Olympiacos (GRE), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO).
The first game is on 16 September, Dynamo Zagreb v Arsenal, 4pm kick off. Not sure if anyone is going to televise it. If you find it, please let us know.
From the anniversary files on the home page
- 9 September 1923. Tim Williamson dropped as goalkeeper after a series of poor performances, with Arsenal having lost all four opening games conceding 10 scoring one. It was the first time Arsenal had failed to get a single point in the opening four matches.
- 9 September 1969. Arsenal 3 Glentoran 0. Fairs Cup 1st round 1st leg. The start to the first Euro trophy. Graham got two of the goals and Gould the third, but only 24,292 turned up at Highbury.
The Untold Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal