The English Football League has collectively put paid to any notion of including Premier League 'B' teams in a proposed restructure.
In a meeting involving the League's 72 clubs, it was decided that as part of the 'Whole Game Solution' project there will be no discussion on the inclusion of 'B' teams from the top flight, clubs from non-English leagues or those outside the English football pyramid.
The latter would end any thoughts of adding Rangers and Celtic to the Football League, in the near future, which has been thrown up many times in the past.
Ideas that a 'fifth division', League Three, could potentially include development teams from the country's top sides had been put forward and it was feared by many that the introduction of some of those sides in the revamped EFL Trophy (formerly the Johnstone's Paint Trophy) would provide a stepping stone to that.
However, a statement released today said: "All clubs, who will potentially vote on a final proposal in June 2017, have been considering the specific issues of regionalisation, the number of teams per division, divisional restructure, winter break and from where in the game the additional teams will come from.
"The majority of these issues, including how the funding re-distribution model will work in the future, will continue to be assessed as the discussions are shaped over the next two months, but the option of sourcing additional clubs from anywhere but the National League has been withdrawn.
"In addition, the feedback has confirmed that clubs in League One, Two and the proposed League Three would want to play through a winter break if introduced.
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey added in the statement: “At the very outset of this process it was made clear that any decisions in respect of the future direction of the Whole Game Solution would be taken by clubs themselves and our announcement today comes as a result of their valued input. I am extremely grateful for their candour and support during the first part of this consultation that will ultimately help shape a final proposal for voting on in June next year.
“The logical place for many was to source the additional teams for League 3 from the National League but we felt it important that the debate was introduced at an early stage and an opportunity was provided for all Club owners’ and executives’ to voice any opinions and, where applicable, table concerns. We will now continue our consultation with the National League with a little more certainty as to what any change could mean for them. These conversations will include the FA in their capacity as the Governing Body not a competition organiser.
“In addition, our dialogue will continue with the Premier League as we focus on ensuring we achieve our specific and primary objective of improving distributable revenue to our clubs and reaching a format that benefits the EFL, its competitions and the wider professional game.
He added: “The next round of consultation will also see us undertake some work with fan groups and other stakeholders to ensure that those people who are invested in the future our game are given an opportunity to register their views.”