Against League 3 is a collective of football supporters formed in May 2014 to fight proposals from The FA to introduce Premier League B-Teams into the wider competitive football pyramid. The petition against those measures reached 34,000 signatories with the plans defeated in 2015.
Since then AL3 has fought against a number of measures that would severely damage the English lower leagues, including the scrapping of FA Cup replays and B-Teams in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. We have also tirelessly researched league structures and cup competitions around the world and youth develop schemes employed in other nations as well as highlighted the need for reform and lack of transparency at The FA, notably the FA Council.
Against League 3 also raises awareness on other issues surrounding supporter activism and the protection of clubs. We’re most vocal on Twitter, where you can follow us @againstleague3
AL3 was formed in May 2014 by Lewis Horwell and James Cave following the release of “The FA Chairman’s Commission Report”. The report was designed to address the lack of English youth talent being developed in relation to underachievement of the England National Team. One of the proposals in the report was “League 3” – a radical change to the English league structure that would add another division at the bottom of the Football League consisting of 10 Premier League youth development sides, and 10 Conference / National League sides.
On the first full day of the campaign, AL3 was contacted by Supporters Direct and The Football Supporters Federation who gave valuable advice and counsel to the campaign.
The plans were met with widespread condemnation from the lower levels of English football, with clubs, managers and supporters speaking out. The plans were eventually defeated in a follow up to the original commission report, in which the FA admitted that they would be unable to implement the plans.
During the original League 3 protests, an alternative idea was mooted by The Football League. Shaun Harvey, the FL’s chief executive, suggested that B-Teams be allowed to play in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (Football League Trophy) as a compromise. Our campaigns supporters told AL3 that this was in no way acceptable, set a precedent for future B-Teams and must not be allowed. The plans were defeated at the Football League’s AGM in Portugal. With both League 3 and the JPT alternative defeated, AL3 ceased to function as a campaign.
In March 2016, a report in The Telegraph suggested that despite the Premier League were still discussing the possibility of placing Premier League B-Teams into the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The Football League introduced B-Teams at the 2016 Annual General Meeting to widespread condemnation from supporters.
Fans called for a boycott of the conpetition prompting AL3 to organise the #BTeamBoycott. The opening rounds of the Trophy saw record low attendances at several clubs and a reduced average attendance on last season.
Against League 3 is currently focused on sustaining the conpetition’s boycott and lobbying for change at this season’s AGM.