Newcastle United have declined the invitation to appear in next season’s EFL Trophy and Premier League 2, reports the Shields Gazette.
The club released a statement explaining their reasons why they have declined to participate in both competitions. Plans have already been made to loan some youth players out and the invitations interfere with those.
The decision to invite academies into the EFL Trophy, although a one season experiment, have been derided. It is, critics complain, a back door way of expanding the Football League with academy teams. Whilst that may be accepted in Spain and other continental countries, there is no evidence that it improves players or in England’s case, the national team.
If the league is to be expanded, invite National League sides in and consider regionalising the tournament at League Two level.
Not joining Premier League 2 however, seems a strange decision by the club. Competitive football at any level is better than training with a League One or Two club. It also brings into question what other matches the youth sides will play.