Clubs may have to ‘share resources’ when game restarts after pandemic

Dan Ashworth joined Brighton in February 2019 after holding a similar role at the Football Association

The concept of B teams may be back on the agenda as football navigates its way through the coronavirus pandemic, says Brighton technical director Dan Ashworth.

It is anticipated Leagues One and Two will be brought to a premature end in the next two weeks and there is also concern about the financial state of the non-league game.

Ashworth, who joined Brighton after six years in a similar role at the Football Association, feels creative solutions may be needed.

“The sort of things we explored a number of years ago, during my time at the FA, were strategic loan clubs, B teams or partner clubs,” he said.

“Maybe, just maybe, things like that come back on the table.

“If there’s a shortage of money and everybody has to cut their cloth accordingly then maybe there’s ways we can share resources and help one another.

“Ground sharing is one that has been looked at before, artificial surfaces that can be used for concerts and training. You could have women’s and men’s games in the same venue.”

On Friday, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), football’s rule-making body, confirmed any competition due to finish before 31 December can allow clubs to make five substitutes during a game, rather than three.

Given the Premier League has nine games to fit in before the end of July, plus the FA Cup from the quarter-finals onwards and – for both Manchester clubs, Wolves and Chelsea – European matches after that, Ashworth feels it is a positive step.

“By default, you can change 50% of your outfield players now, which cuts down on the loading,” he said.

“We will have less than the optimal preparation time when the season gets going and will be squeezing a large number of games into a short period of time, so I can see the rationale. It might help reduce the number of injuries.”

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