The BIAS Committee object to the EFL’s “Whole Game Solution” proposals as we have seen them so far. Below are our views on the key aspects:
Club v Country
The BIAS Committee does not support the general premise that the success of the England national team is important to most football fans, and important enough to warrant the reorganisation of the EFL. We believe most fans, including keen England followers, put club over country.
While the club will have to make its own judgement, we have concerns on the long term nature of the proposed changes for a shirt term financial gain. We are also concerned that by reducing the matchday income it will make clubs like Brentford even more reliant on payments from the EPL and TV, and less able to be masters of their own destiny.
Reduced number of games and reduced number of night matches
The vast majority of people we have spoken to individually have said they would be unhappy at losing matches from the season. Several expressed that they would miss night matches particularly. While there may be evidence that night matches are “harder to market” for the club, we note that for many, they are easier to attend than Saturdays.
Season Ticket and Matchday Ticket Prices
We believe fans would expect a pro-rata reduction in season ticket prices to make up for the lost matches. After that you it is likely that any price rise for several years would be blamed on the club agreeing to reduce its own matchday income.
We believe that bringing academy/B teams, or Celtic/ Rangers in the EFL would be an absolute disaster for the EFL. It would also likely end up in boycotts similar to those seen in the EFL trophy. This should be an absolute dealbreaker. If new teams are needed, they should be from the National League.
While we don’t see this as something that will affect us directly (we hope), there is a feeling that regionalisation reduces quality, and therefore appeal. Also often regionalisation have the desired effect of dramatically reducing travel times, as there are frequently teams who through promotions/relegations end up in the “wrong” region. This can be seen in non-league.
Majority of fans we have spoken to individually would not welcome a winter break. The games in between Christmas and New Year in particular are very popular, have traditions attached to them and would be missed.
We are also sceptical that the introduction of a winter break would even help the England team, as we think most Premier League clubs would end up playing friendlies abroad in this time anyway.
BIAS Committee views on some stated “benefits” of WGS
– Importance of fixtures increases – All fixtures are important all the time, big games will still be big games
– Midweek travel won’t necessarily be “vastly” reduced, it may only be slightly reduced, this is overstated.
– Reduced squad sizes – Clubs will spend as much money as they can on playing staff regardlessIncreased importance of reserve football – This doesn’t make sense unless referring to Academy / B teams, which should be an absolute dealbreaker.
– We believe the impact of midweek games on season ticket sales is much smaller than stated.
– Standardisation of promotion/relegation could happen without rearranging the leagues.
– As Bees fans we are very wary of years of extra relegation’s as we’ve been hurt in similar ways before. Also more divisions = more potential trips to W**bley!