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FA chairman proposes Premier League 'B' teams following study into England's struggles

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LONDON - An English Football Association commission has proposed introducing a new division for Premier League clubs to play "B'' teams in a bid to enhance the development of homegrown players and make the national team more competitive.

Having set England the target of winning the World Cup in 2022, FA chairman Greg Dyke has been studying how to create more playing opportunities for Englishmen.

In his report, Dyke says he wants 90 English players to be playing regularly in the Premier League by 2022, compared with 66 currently, and proposes a cap of two non-European Union players per squad.

"We have a problem and I think there's an agreement something needs to be done about it," Dyke said Thursday at Wembley Stadium. "I think we have a duty of care to English football and not just to football played in England."

After studying the Spanish system, Dyke says Premier League "B'' teams should be eligible to start playing in the 2016-17 season. Dyke would like to see 10 clubs playing in a newly-created League Three, between the existing League Two and semiprofessional ranks.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Stoke and Tottenham back the "B'' team plans, Dyke said.

"B'' teams would not be able to play in the FA Cup or League Cup, and at least 19 members of the 25-man squad would be under 21 at the start of the season, Dyke says. At least 20 of the 25 players should qualify under the homegrown rules, with players from outside the EU ineligible.

Dyke said he is aware there could be concerns about the "competitive credibility" of League Three if there are too many "B'' teams, while he also envisages them not being eligible for promotion beyond the third tier.

The proposals would also help British managers gain top jobs, with Dyke highlighting how Pep Guardiola gained experience with Barcelona's "B'' team before taking control of the first team in 2008, and winning every major trophy.

Dyke described Britain's work visa system as "deeply-flawed." Since 2009, 122 non-EU players have entered the English game, half of whom didn't meet the visa criteria but came through an appeal process.

"Whilst accepting that the very best non-EU foreign players do bring great value to English football, many interviewees have argued strongly to us that too many mediocre players are getting work visas," the report says.

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Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

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