The English Football League is considering creating a new ‘fifth’ division for the start of the 2019/2020 football season, according to the Chief Executive Shaun Harvey.
According to Harvey, members would be the one to decide if Celtic and Rangers can participate in the EFL. The EFL wants to expand to four divisions of 20 teams each, so it wants the 72 clubs to give their opinions.
Celtic and Rangers have been seriously considered for long to join the fifth division, despite being of the Scottish divide. But Harvey says the final decision would be made solely by the members.
“We have recently gone out to our clubs to elicit their further views in relation to any different number of areas from the proposition that was first put forward. Once we have their views, we can move forward,” Harvey said. He then added that if they were to proceed, there’s the dilemma of which teams to choose.
“One of the simple questions, if this is to proceed, is where should the [new] teams come from? So the only ones who will decide that are the clubs themselves, so we will see what they say. I don’t want to pre-empt anything,” he added. Rangers and Celtic have massive fan bases, and would be worthy additions.
Previously known as the Football League Trophy – now the Checkatrade Trophy, is set to begin with Under-23 sides of the Premier League and Championship club fighting for glory. Many Premier League sides declined their invitation for various reasons, but Chelsea, West Ham, Southampton and Leicester City would be competing against 12 other clubs.
Harvey wanted clubs from the two divisions to compete for the trophy, with better packages this year. The Prize money is up to £1.95 million from the £500,000 of the last campaign. Instead of 48 clubs, fewer teams would be competing to drive up attendances and earnings so it would be worthwhile.