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Club Statement Issued On EFL Proposals

11 June 2016

Club statement following EFL AGM

Following the EFL AGM 2016, Oxford United would like to clarify its stance on a number of proposals.
 
The League have agreed to pilot a new format for the EFL Trophy. A one season trial for season 2016/17 will include 64 teams made up of EFL League One and Two clubs, plus an additional 16 category 1 Premier League academy/under-21 sides.
 
Along with the majority of other clubs, the Oxford United Board voted to support this proposal strictly for one season only, having taken the wider deep concerns for the future of the competition into consideration.
 
The Oxford United Board’s vote was tight and while Chairman Darryl Eales was against the proposal, overall it was decided to support the League’s appeal to explore ways to secure the cup’s future and Darryl respected the overall vote.

After taking 34,000 fans to Wembley for the final this year the club is a big supporter of the competition and greatly appreciates its value. However, the discussion at the EFL Conference confirmed the competition is in serious need of innovation to survive. Numerous clubs voiced genuine concerns the competition would fold if it does not improve quickly, as the prize money and TV interest is low, and many clubs struggle to break-even from EFL Trophy matches. A number of clubs even stated they would withdraw from the competition if it was not boosted.
 
It was decided to support the decision to work on seeking to find bold ways to save the competition, which currently does not have a sponsor, but made it clear this was on the basis of the proposal being a one season trial period and if it does not work it will not be renewed. The prize money will now be double for next season. 
 
We understand that many supporters will be surprised by this and some will disagree, however following careful consideration and discussion, overall the Board decided it was important to support and explore ways to ensure the competition can survive.
 
To be clear this is not a precursor to ‘B Teams’ entering the league structure and the Oxford United Board would absolutely be against this should it ever be proposed.
 
The recently proposed ‘Whole Game Solution’ was also discussed during the conference, which includes the proposal to create a five division structure, with 20 teams in each in time for the 2019/20 season.  It was agreed that more consultation and debate is required.
 
Oxford United supported new measures, which will take immediate effect, which include the introduction of mandatory new recruitment practices for BAME coaching positions in Academy football and a Voluntary Recruitment Code in first team football, which will be piloted by at least 10 clubs during 2016/17.
 
Having given 'in principle' support to the introduction of positive action measures aimed at promoting diversity in coaching positions 12 months ago, clubs have now formally endorsed a set of proposals finalised during the 2015/16 season by a working party of clubs, led by their departing Chairman, Greg Clarke.
 
Oxford United prides itself on being open and inclusive and welcomes the introduction of this legislation into football.
 
The proposals are:
 
Mandatory Requirements at Academy level 
 
Under EFL regulations:
 
• Clubs will be required to advertise any position within the club’s Academy that requires the individual to hold a UEFA A or UEFA B coaching badge on the club’s website and the EFL website for a minimum of 7 days.
• Clubs must include at least one suitably qualified BAME candidate (where an application has been received) on the interview shortlist for that position.
• Clubs must appoint the successful candidate on the basis of merit alone.
• Clubs must provide details of the recruitment process to the EFL, including the number of BAME applicants and the number of BAME candidates interviewed.
• Clubs will be permitted to fill a position by promoting an internal candidate (from a position requiring a UEFA A or B coaching badge only) without applying the above process.  However, the position vacated by that individual must be filled in accordance with the new regulations.
 
Voluntary Recruitment Code in First Team Football
 
• During the season, clubs will be expected to interview one or more BAME candidate for any First Team managerial/coaching role (where an application has been received) in instances where they run a full recruitment process.
• During the close season, clubs will be expected to run a full recruitment process for any First Team managerial/coaching role during which they must interview one or more BAME candidates (where an application has been received).
Clubs piloting the Voluntary Recruitment Code during 2016/17:
 
Championship: Birmingham City, Fulham, Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers
 
League One: Chesterfield, Coventry City, Millwall and Peterborough United
 
League Two: Accrington Stanley and Carlisle United
 
Additionally, the EFL AGM saw clubs approve all of the regulation changes tabled, including:
 
Board & Governance
 
Clubs ratified the appointment of Ian Lenagan as the new Chairman of the EFL with immediate effect, as well as the re-appointment of Independent Director, Richard Bowker.
 
Clubs also approved a series of proposals aimed at ensuring that the EFL meets the highest standards of Corporate Governance including:
 
• The chairman, independent directors and six club representatives on the EFL Board will be limited to a maximum of two consecutive terms of three years.
• The EFL’s two representatives on the FA Board will include one EFL Director nominated by Championship clubs and one EFL Director nominated by League One/League Two clubs.
• Club representatives on the FA Council will be limited to serving no more than six consecutive terms (of one year).
Loan Players
 
Following FIFA’s withdrawal of consent for the EFL’s ‘emergency loan’ system, clubs have agreed to a number of measures aimed at easing the transition to the revised arrangements, including:
 
• A player registered on a standard loan may continue to play non-first team football for his parent club during the term of his loan period.
• Clubs will be permitted to sign a goalkeeper on a seven day ‘emergency loan’ basis if they do not have a senior goalkeeper that has made 5 starting appearances in first team football.
• Clubs will be able to recall a goalkeeper at 24 hours’ notice from a loan period at another club if they are unable to field two fit goalkeepers in their 18 man matchday squad.
Supporter Engagement
 
From 2016/17 clubs will be required to hold at least two meetings/fans forums with a representative group of the club’s supporters, putting into practice commitments made by the EFL as part of the Government’s Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement which made a series of recommendations earlier in 2016.
 
Clubs Defaulting on Transfer Payments
 
EFL regulations relating to transfer payments have been amended to permit the application of a transfer embargo to a club that defaults on sums owed to clubs outside the EFL or Premier League.


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