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Youth overhaul will damage Football League

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Paul Fletcher | 14:41 UK time, Thursday, 20 October 2011

On Thursday, Football League clubs voted in favour of proposals that could result in the Premier League picking up their best young talent for a fraction of what they currently pay. There were 46 votes in favour, 22 against, three no-shows and one abstention.

I'm told it was a reluctant "yes" from many of the clubs, who felt they had no choice. If they voted "no", the Premier League threatened to withdraw over £5m of funding that they give to lower league clubs each year for youth development.

It is all tied in with the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), which will radically modernise youth development in England, introducing a four-tier academy system. The new deal will see every club receive an increase in their funding for a guaranteed four-year period, with the amount determined by their academy status.

Against a background of a reduced tv deal and an uncertain economic climate, most Football League clubs are understood to have welcomed the funding increase - but Peterborough director of football Barry Fry told me the Premier League's threat felt like blackmail.

The Premier League is confident EPPP, which will be implemented for the start of the 2012-13 season, will ensure the best players are developed by the best coaches at clubs using state-of-the-art facilities.

The idea is that it will help the most-talented players realise their potential. Ultimately, this will benefit not only the club that develops them but also the England team.

"This is a bigger step change than Howard Wilkinson's Charter for Quality," said a Premier League spokesman. "That was an incredible piece of work, which everybody bought into. But that was a stake in the ground and everybody has marched past it. The new plan is a great example of English football working together to raise standards across the board."

There is widespread support for many of the ideas and aspirations contained with EPPP at Football League level. I have spoken to chairmen, managers, academy directors and players. All of them believe the new system will succeed in many of its aims.

Manchester City's Joe Hart began his career at Shrewsbury and is now the national team's first-choice goalkeeper. Photo: Getty

But the insistence that the new set-up is combined with an overhaul of the tribunal system, currently used to determine a fee when clubs cannot reach agreement for the transfer of a home-grown player, has infuriated many in the Football League.

Two years ago, the Football League agreed to enter discussions about a new formula. This has bounced back and forth between the two bodies for most of 2011 but the Premier League has now made its final offer.

There will be a fixed tariff dependent on how long a player has been at the selling club. For example, the fee is fixed at £3,000-per-year for a player's development from nine to 11-years-old. The fee from 12 to 16 will depend on a club's academy status but will range from £12,500 to £40,000.

This will bring to an end Premier League clubs paying large fees for the best young talent in the Football League. Chelsea this week reportedly shelled out an initial £1.5m to MK Dons for 14-year-old Oluwaseyi Ojo. Under the new system they would be able to buy him for less than £150,000.

An academy director at a Championship club told me it was the flawed nature of the current tribunal system that forced Premier League clubs to pay a competitive price. The Premier League argues the bolt-on amounts the selling club will receive if the player is a success at his new club will ensure it is a fair system.

But this is dependent on a player going on to establish himself at a top-flight club. The academy director I spoke to believes it will lead to a situation where Premier League clubs "hoover up" the best young players aged nine to 16 at lower league clubs.

It will be worth a top-flight club buying several young players for under £100,000 on the basis they can afford for several to fall by the wayside - as long as some succeed.

There is an argument this will most benefit top-flight clubs who currently do not have a successful record in youth development.

The academy director told me: "Do you think Manchester United are too bothered about EPPP? They already have a first-class system and this is probably just extra paperwork for them. It is clubs that don't work well who will be desperate to put it in place because it will make their lives easier."

He believes this will stunt the long-term development of players who have moved to a club where they suddenly find themselves a long way from the first team.

John Bostock moved from Crystal Palace to Tottenham after a tribunal set his fee, but has found first-team opportunites at White Hart Lane limited. Photo: Getty

A good example is John Bostock, who joined Crystal Palace as an eight-year old and made his first-team debut aged 15. He was controversially signed by Tottenham as a 16-year-old, with a tribunal setting an initial fee of £700,000, with a further £1.25m dependent on first-team appearances.

However, he has yet to make a Premier League appearance for Spurs and has been loaned out to Brentford and Hull, his path to the first team blocked by seasoned professionals.

Under the new system, we could see a lot of youngsters at top-flight clubs being loaned to lower leagues to gain first-team experience.

What's more, the changes could lead to a scenario where academy directors at Football League clubs will have to try to instigate an auction to force up the price if a top-flight club shows an interest in one of their younger players.

The academy director added: "If a Premier League club came in for one of my 12-year-olds and the tariff said I could only get £20,000, I would have to try to start a bidding war by trying to get other clubs interested in him. This would probably involve an agent - and I would have to try to persuade the player's parents to take the biggest offer."

Of the 72 Football League clubs, only Hereford and Morecambe do not have a youth development system. The changes are unlikely to lead to an immediate reduction in the number of academies because the new system actually increases funding for clubs.

But the chairman of a League Two club told me that, further down the line, when the fixed period of extra funding has ended and lower league clubs are losing their best young players for next to nothing, many will decide to scrap their youth systems.

The academy director agrees. He added: "Youth systems at Championship clubs will survive because they will be able to cherry-pick from smaller clubs. But, for the likes of Barnet and Stevenage, I imagine it will be the end for them."

The Premier League itself is adamant that it is a fair system and the reforms are necessary. But they could cause a long-term problem that will transform the landscape of youth development in the Football League.

You can follow me throughout the season on Twitter: @Paul__Fletcher


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  • Comment number 1.

    Will we see yet more young stars from the lower leagues jump to the big boys with all the money only to never be heard of again?

  • Comment number 2.

    If the transfer or tribunal fees are going to be less then its about time the players made their own decisions about their career and didn't think about the short term monetary benefits of a move to a bigger club. John Bostock's career has stalled and I don't see his being the last. Maybe English football could introduce the co-ownership contracts seen in Italy so that a player can still play at his original club but both the clubs and the player have not made a decision until the co-ownership contract runs out. This way the potential is not stifled.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well, this could be the death knell for clubs like Palace,Boro and Southhampton, who have buisness models centred around developing talent and selling it on.
    Alas, a lot of young players and their families are going to be swayed by the big boys, only for said player to spend a few seasons rotting in the reserves, only to end up on loan back in the lower leagues any way!!

    You know football has lost its soul when the EPL starts blackmailing the little guy. Time for the lower clubs to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Break away guys and re-set the football league. The EPL just spits in your face. Heck, they're going to stop relegation/promotion to the EPL anyway, so why not start again?

  • Comment number 4.

    How long until these large academies of the top clubs, soon to be bulging at the seams with all the top talent, will be pushing to enter B teams into the Football League to give their youngsters a run out...?

    So much for my team Swindon Town spending money on youth recruitment to unearth the next Paul Rideout, Nicky Summerbee and the rest...

  • Comment number 5.

    This is an absolute disgrace and tantamount to blackmail. The Premier league is gradually destroying English football. The football league would be better off severing all links with them. Let the top 10 in the PL have their own league with no promotion/relegation and let the rest of us enjoy football on level terms, football as it used to be....

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm a fan of two clubs named in this article, Shrewsbury and Spurs. This new system for transferring young players is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I notice that the premier league spokesman hasn't put his name to it either.

    With my Shrewsbury hat on, I think a lot of time and effort has been put into the youth programme over the years, there are special youth coaches and several have come through the ranks - Joe Hart, Dave Edwards (Wolves), and current youngster Tom Bradshaw. But if it were not for the near £1m received for Joe Hart I'm questionning what would be the advantage for the club to maintain this?

    As it is, I just see a lot of youngsters moving to big clubs, away from their homes at an early age for peanuts, and a lot of them being released.

    I don't see that there's a great deal wrong with the current transfer system. Yes better coaching is needed, but this isn't the answer at all.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm just simply dumbstruck. We know the PL has all the power but surely the collective will of the lower divisions clubs should mean they could stick together and fight it?

    It just eludes me completely. Turkeys voting for Christmas.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely the fairest way to go about it would be a "percentage of next sale" clause tagged onto every player that moves. Then if they do turn into a quality player the club will get some money in the long run. Scale it on how old the player is when he moves, and how long he had been in the selling club's academy.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have often wonder why smaller clubs run their own academies. It must be a substantial finiancial burden and apart from clubs like Crewe I'm not sure what the real benefits are. Clubs have started to ditch reserve teams as a way of saving money. Perhaps youth set ups will be next to go with smaller clubs relying on Premier League rejects and loans to make up the numbers.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 11.

    Another nail in the coffin of the Football League and English football.

    The problem in England is not so much the youth development systems out there (though we are behind Spain, Germany etc.), it's more that the best young players go to Premier League clubs and don't play.

    As a Stockport County fan, I've seen many of our most promising youngsters snapped up too early and left to rot in Premier League youth / reserve teams while the club in question sign experienced professionals for every position in their 1st team. If you get no first team football between the ages of 18 and 21, you will never be a top footballer.

    This ends any hope I had of seeing England win a major tournament within my lifetime.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Paul, great blog as usual.

    I have really felt the need to comment on this because, more than anything, I am outraged at the attitude the Premier League has to the Football League. Now, without wishing to dish out countless cliches like 'the football league is the heart oand soul

  • Comment number 13.

    Surely though, the implication of the bigger clubs "hoovering up" more youngsters from smaller clubs will in the long term come back to help the smaller clubs, when a load of young pros are released from the bigger clubs (probably in the region of 19-22 years old) having not made it at the top level, meaning that the smaller clubs can pick them up for free, safe in the knowledge that some of the most important formative years of their lives (i.e. mid teens to early twenties) has seen them trained at the best youth acadamies in the country and more than likely exposed to some of the best professional footballers in the premier league? Ok so youth set-ups become less widespread, but the fact that they are more concentrated amongst the best is surely a good thing for standards as a whole.

  • Comment number 14.

    The next natural stage on from this is just to abolish the small clubs altogether and replace them with B and C teams of the "big" teams.

    How anyone could consider this beneficial for football is just beyond me.

  • Comment number 15.

    Thanks for your thoughts to far.

    Just spoken to an academy director who attended the meeting today.

    His conclusion: "This has changed youth development for good."

    Apparently there was a two-hour debate during which a lot of excellent points were made. Basically, whether a club voted yes or no boiled down to the quality of their youth systems.

    If they had a good youth system and regularly brought through their own players they voted no. If they do not, they voted yes as they want the extra money on offer.

    Hence the likes of Ipswich, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Reading and Watford all voted no.

  • Comment number 16.

    Having a good youth system is the best way for less popular clubs to compete. This seems utter madness.

    My team, Middlesbrough, have an excellent youth policy. It really is the only way they can compete at the highest level - as someone says above, by selling on. Another nail in the coffin for football.

    Let the millionaires have their plaything. I'll stick with Rugby thanks.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm a grass roots coach that gives up my own time three nights a week and on a Saturday. I have just had one of my players at U14s age level sign for a pro club.

    I have coached the boy from eight years of age and he is now 13. What did I get from the club? Not even a set of training balls or bibs!!

    There should also be a system in place for the grass roots youth football. If I had this boy at a pro club, our team would have received £15,000 compensation.

    This sort of money would keep a grass roots football team going for about 10 years.

    We are the guys that are the life blood of youth football in Britain....

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    There is a fundamental problem with the youth setup in this country and that is that we take them far far too young.

    If you are not in some sort of professional setup by the age of 10 you are NEVER picked up. I remember at school we had 2 lads playing for Tranmere and 1 for Blackburn and neither were as good as our school captain. It was simply because he wasn't picked up early enough. The amount of changes that puberty brings on in lads aged 10 - 17 makes an incredible difference.

    We need to stop taking lads out of their local schools and let them get on with playing football.

    The other point is our Tranmere lads started getting banned from playing school football in case they got injured!!!!!!!! These are the fundamental problems to the whole English game.

  • Comment number 20.

    The only 'payments' that should be paid for youth players should be based on how many years they stay at their new club and how young the player was when they were 'bought', eg £10-100K per year at their new club, plus a 5-20% tariff from any future sales
    By having these sort of payments in place, no club would ever be able to poach young talent without having to pay something in return and no matter how successful the player in question becomes, their original club would get fair recompense.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Paul, great blog as usual.

    I have really felt the need to comment on this because, more than anything, I am outraged at the Premier Leagues attitude to the Football League. Now without wishing to dish out countless cliches like 'the Football League is the heart and soul of English football', it is worth stating that the majority of professional English football is in the Football League. The Premier League would not be without the Football League. But for the Premier League to act in what can only be described as a disrespectful manner in disgusting. Using bully boy tactics by threatening to withdraw payments the Football League clubs desperately need is shameful. One of the main factors the FL need as much money as they can get is because the PL and Sky have taken over a huge portion of the nations football fan base and revenue. I'm sure the PL will run with the argument they are increasing their funding, but the result being they can sign players at a much smaller price than before. This, in effect, means clubs could end up losing out on - in some cases - vasts amount of money - you excellently highlighted this point with the MK Dons example.

    So FL clubs are expected to do the grafting, finding rising stars and nurturing them so that when they come of a certain level of ability a PL club can come in and sign them for next to nothing? I would love to see anyone try and explain that point as fair. And the argument that it will help England? Yes, it may well help England (and I love to see my country do well), but what about the clubs in financial disarray (maybe because they can't attract enough crowds due to the ready availability of the PL) who sell their youngsters for good money to keep their clubs alive?

    So not only does the PL have a huge pull factor in terms of attracting 'floater' fans, scoop in astronomical amounts of money through TV deals and sponsorship which constantly widens the gap between them and the FL and take fans away from the terraces and into their living room, it now also has the chance to cheery pick the FL's finest young talents.

    Will equality ever return to football?

  • Comment number 22.

    Isn't the scrapping of the 90 minute travel time rule going to make it harder for teams lower down the pecking order to recruit young, local players? The big boys will sign up any promising youngster.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am gobsmacked that the Premier League has been allowed to use the relatively small amount of the vast wealth it generates, that is currently provided to football league clubs for youth development, as a bargaining tool. Initial reactions suggest that this will only benefit Premier League teams and I am inclined to agree with the view that this will encourage the idea of trawling whereby top-flight sides identify and accumulate large cohorts of youngsters only to discard the majority.

    To say lower league clubs will benefit if the player is a success I also think is an idea that is a little strained. The fact that clubs like Bradford City have been able to generate substantial sums of money for the sale of their young prodigies is a small reward for what they may have been able to contribute as a Bradford player. If these players were sold on for relatively small amounts (which they would as the potential pots of money are only available after sustained success) then this would leave the club without any short or medium-term benefit at all. My concern would also be levied at any potential time constraints linked to success payments (i.e. Tom Cleverley has made 73 appearances on loan but only 4 for Man Utd... when would Bradford be liable to receive the payments related to him performing in the Championship and the Premier League as well as multiple caps for England U21?)

  • Comment number 24.

    i wish the 'big clubs' would just start their euro/world league and let english football get back to what it used to be!

  • Comment number 25.

    Basically a crass case of bullying and blackmail by the Premier League. If the league clubs can't say no, isn't there a realistic compromise here: yes you can take out kids for peanuts, but as well as appearance fees, all sales must have a built-in sell-on clause, say 25% (or more) of any future transfer fee goes to the original club?

  • Comment number 26.

    They should have called the Premier Leagues bluff. OK theyd lose £5m now but how much are they going to lose in the future? An ill judged decision I fear.

  • Comment number 27.

    How dead does football have to become as a competition before it returns to what it was and should have remained in 1992?
    I wouldn't hold your breath. Scotland is a glaring example of the future for the English game.Fewer and fewer bother to waste their money on supporting anyone outside of the old firm, which in turn means they get less competitive and the league more of a waste of time.
    The bulk of Scottish fans have admitted they would love a return to the old two league format with just one home and away fixture(this allowed smaller sides to compete and nurture talent-its no coincidence that the once rich stream of Scottish world class talent is no extinct-the current SPL set up doesn't allow for this),but the only source of TV revenue demands endless Rangers v Celtic for their cash (who'd have ever believed that this fixture is now a bore it happens so often?) so Scotland is forever doomed to an increasingly poor league competition that no one really likes outside of the armchair fan.
    This is already starting to take place here, and with their best youth players now going to the PL parasites and TV cash demanding more cliched fixtures, for the real footy fan the game is finished. But as the new footy fans love all the theatricals and Harlem Globetrotter style games, I guess it doesn't really matter. But without the slightest hope remaining, I'll give the £20+ ticket a miss. Without the romance, computer games offer the most exciting leagues going.

  • Comment number 28.

    Paul. Do you have any idea who the abstentions were and the three no-shows. They annoy me nearly as much as those who voted Yes!

    The bully boy tactics of the PL rule again. They say it will be good for the England team; wasn't the PL supposed to be good for the national team as well? The England team argument doesn't wash with many fans these days as the players who represent their country are becoming more and more remote from football fans disenfranchised by the upper echelons of the game.

  • Comment number 29.

    this does sound like a bit of premier league blackmailing, and to me it seems that FA has looked at the equation that is England Team vs Competitive Football that provides a service to the nation, and facilitates at least 4 divisions of entertaining football from local teams, accessible by all all. the answer it has come to is all England Team.

    Im a Mancunian which means im not really bothered about England, especially if rooneys not playing, and for me, i would rather improve the quality and fairness of our domestic game from top to grassroots, than have a team that won a World Cup. England used to be important when fans of unsuccessful clubs could at least taste potential glory on the international stage, and now it seems that the FA has decided that farcical performances in competitions staged every two years by an organisation that ridiculed the FAs attempt to host the World Cup are more important than when saturday comes and local fans go out and support local teams who in turn support local communities and even give those communities a sense of pride and identity.

    I love watching the goals of the week, or even listening to the classified results, and listening out for the smaller guys that i have a penchant for. we dont just want a premier league with no relegation or promotion.

    the FA has decided that this idea for a super efficient England footballer producing assembly line is the great model to ensure that the very cream of English footballers are nurtured in the right way to make an England super team, but 90% of footballers wont be at this level and risk their careers going to a big boy team on the slim chance they might make it, only to not do and spend their peak languishing in reserves or being loaned out and never being allowed to settle.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ah, and so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Well, that's just about what this amounts to. These smaller clubs have little chance of protecting their assets and investments as it it, but now they're being strong-armed into giving up their best young talent for next to nothing.

    The game is so completely ruined by excesses of money and greed. It must be near to critical mass now? How much money are clubs willing to borrow and spend to win a bit of silverwear?

    Formula 1 is a perfect example. The sport was becoming stale and boring with the same old teams and drivers winning everything. Mclaren, Ferrari, Williams etc... these teams had all of the money therefore the best R&D, best drivers, best tech' support, top facilities, which meant none of the others could possibly hope to ever compete. Then they introduced the £40m spending cap (much to the screaming and shouting of the bigger teams), and now look at the sport. It's been given a whole new lease of life!

    They should be levelling the playing field in English football, not handing the already wealthy teams an even bigger advantage. Doesn't anyone else see this?

  • Comment number 31.

    This will be terrible for most young players, and awful for FL clubs as their future valuable assets will be stolen. Plus the loss of ability they could of had on the football pitch, as these players would of come up through the ranks

    Young player development is not just about a kid turning up at a multi million training and excercise facility, and kicking a ball around with a premier league squad now and again for a few years

    The proper player development starts when they are playing REAL and COMPETITIVE football, being involved with a team and trying to earn 3pts on a saturday afternoon. These experiences are so valuable when learning their trade. Majority of kids in the premier league will never experience this, and even if they do most will have to wait to 21 onwards as no premier manager will risk playing them any younger....

    As they say if they are good enough, they are old enough. But most won't get chance in the PL, they'll end up rotting in the reserves

    A sad day for football.

  • Comment number 32.

    So Football League clubs produce a player (product). They now get dictated to what the future price of this product is, ie the price is 'fixed'.

    Don't people go to jail over these types of business practice?

    oh and throw in the Football League clubs have to pay 'fees' to be called an academy in the first place!

  • Comment number 33.

    13. At 16:22 20th Oct 2011, rushers82 wrote:
    Surely though, the implication of the bigger clubs "hoovering up" more youngsters from smaller clubs will in the long term come back to help the smaller clubs, when a load of young pros are released from the bigger clubs (probably in the region of 19-22 years old) having not made it at the top level, meaning that the smaller clubs can pick them up for free, safe in the knowledge that some of the most important formative years of their lives (i.e. mid teens to early twenties) has seen them trained at the best youth acadamies in the country and more than likely exposed to some of the best professional footballers in the premier league? Ok so youth set-ups become less widespread, but the fact that they are more concentrated amongst the best is surely a good thing for standards as a whole.

    Erm disagree, apart from anything else there will be a lot of players together and a lot of them will perhaps not get individual focus that they could benefit from. how many players are going to be in these big clubs academy then? If say 50 football league clubs decide youth academies are pointless then what happens to those youngsters that would have been picked up by them? Surely not all of them would end up at a premiership club.

    Take my team Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury found Joe Hart, other top clubs didn't notice him, it was through one on one training at Shrewsbury that he really developed and then became the number 2 keeper, before getting his chance as number 1. Then after quite a few games Man City came calling for a large fee and future fees related to appearances. Under this scheme if Shrewsbury thought that it wasn't worth their while doing then he'd either slip through the net, or have been picked up and currently be someone's 4th choice keeper like his rival in the under 19 squad Ben Alnwick.

    Anyway, I'd really like someone to get Scudamore or whichever of the money grabbing idiots that thought of this to justify this. I notice from the comments that the vast majority are totally against this.

  • Comment number 34.

    They were worried about losing £5m?! Surely 72 football clubs could rustle that up between them? £70k each? They throw many time more than that away on agents fees.

    Ridiculous bullying form the PL. The FA and FL need to man up.

  • Comment number 35.

    so the premier league rapes the lower leagues again. it's not the youth system that needs an overhaul it's every aspect of football. there's too much money at the top and not enough going to the lower leagues and grass roots. liverpool proved that by trying to get more money from europe for themselves when they aren't even in europe. it's time to cap wages, transfer fees and foreign players. with wages capped more money can be ploughed back into the clubs to increase facilities such as youth developement. with a cap on transfer fees clubs can't be held to ransom so more players will be sold for their real value, plus there will be no need for agents who syphon off so much money that should stay in the game. less foreign players means more players from the british isles playing first team football. the football league is where the true competion is. the premier league is dull dull dull. every team that starts a season should have a chance of finishing as champions otherwise what is the point. bring back the british game with british values. foreign players and foreign investors are destroying our game.

  • Comment number 36.

    Nick - post 34 - £70,000 is a substantial amount of money for many lower league clubs. Without it they simply would not have a youth programme.

    A little more reaction for you........

    Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, denied the scheme had been passed due to the threat of the withdrawal of funding.

    He said: “People have voted for it as they see the EPPP as developed and devised is an excellent plan and I am positive that has been endorsed as they see it as a step change in the way we develop players in English football.”

    I'm not sure everyone would be in agreement with his point of view.

  • Comment number 37.

    Not exactly a silver-bullet to solve all football's problems is it? I mean the issue half these kids will have is that they'll be competing for places with African's, Asian's, South American's etc. for the right to play even one game simply as clubs will still purchase developing nation's players in the hope of making them "home-grown" by the time they are 19-20....whereas staying with Macclesfield Town for example one would hope they'd get a chance to develop/play and then be bought up by say Sunderland etc.

    I do not profess to be a footballing expert (and I think a £10+ ticket in the FL is still pretty expensive for what you get so the FL clubs can be just as bad as the PL in their own way) but surely the solution is this - no clubs develop their own players and they come from 3rd party soccer schools and youth teams - the clubs then draft players at 16 from those organisations for a specific fee and that's the issue solved - you'd only be allowed a certain number of players in per season (or you couldn't sign a player until they are 18) and the bottom club gets first pick.

  • Comment number 38.

    Whichever idiot thinks this will be a benefit to the England team & youth development in the future needs shooting. All that will happen is the Premier league clubs will recruit any youth players with the slightest bit of promise, who will then get lost within over-large academies. A lot of players who would have gone on to forge a good career at lower league level, will become disillusioned after failing to get into the premier league club who have signed them.
    As a few people have said many clubs rely on their youth systems to not only bring players into the club but to provide the finances from the sale of the gem that they often find. We could end up losing some clubs due to them receiving 70-100k for a player that at the moment they may receive 1-2 million.
    As for the so called 'bolt ons' is there a time duration or some more clarity as to what the Football League clubs will receive if for instance they have to sell a player for 100k to a Premier League team, who then goes on to be sold 5-6yrs later for 10-20 million? Think they should leave the bolt-ons to the mobile phone salesmen.

  • Comment number 39.

    Don't the FA realise that a much bigger problem is having U12s/11 year olds play on a full size pitch!!! In Germany and Spain they don't get to full size pitches until U15s and France and Holland its U14s.
    France World Cup 1998 winners Euro 2000 winners and 2006 Final
    Germany -Euro 1996 winners 2nd 2002 world cup 3rd 2006 & 2010 + success at U21s
    Spain - Euro 2008 and World cup 2010 winners + success at U21s
    Holland - apart from 2nd in 2011 WC not a great deal of success but a lot better than all home nations.
    And getting rid of the 90 minute rule is also aiding the rich and big clubs get stronger. For a hypothetical example Newcastle could raid plymouth for a 12 year old is disgusting!!! Bigger clubs can exploit 12 year olds and their families with financial backing!! All this while paying a tiny fee.
    The premier league = men in suits with no clue!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    A major problem with all this is that the EPPP is fundamentally flawed at this embryonic stage and clearly incomplete as a domain specific elite development recommendation.

    The research used is very dated and also non domain transferable for what is a rapidly changing sport

    There are no underpinned or even hazardous guestimate recommendations for two key areas of true elite performance, psychology and performance analysis

    There has been a blatant ignorance of research and due dilligence with current elite performers and recently retired ones across the spectrum of ages in the consultation process.

    The document although a noble and good idea is plainly out of its depth in its current format and is extensively premature in its birth.

  • Comment number 41.

    the sooner the biggest teams clear off to please Johnny Bangkok and the rest of the armchair glory hunters the better.the premiership is an appauling standard bar about 4 teams,how refreshing it would be without the 2 Manc clubs and Chelsea--yeah big club they are,ive been to Stamford Bridge when there was a crowd of 10000 for a league game not that long ago and Arsenal to then see different teams winnig the title every so often.

  • Comment number 42.

    It's all pretty pointless and will make little difference to the quality of the players we produce. What should be happening is that clubs in given areas should be working together to develop talent. Take the West Midlands for example - Wolves, Villa, Walsall, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Coventry should run one academy, although it should be noted that this academy could be run at several 'satellite' centres across the region. When a player reaches a certain age an independent panel will place the player with the most appropriate club, depending on various factors - the top players would go to the top clubs but may spend some time at say Walsall and Kidderminster first to gain experience and boost those clubs chances. This would foster a spirit of cooperation between clubs in a given area rather than competition and all clubs would get a fairer share of available talent with a significant reduction in costs.

  • Comment number 43.

    what really gets me is
    who is to say who has the best coaches
    who decides what the best environment is
    it seems to me like the FL has been bribed into agreeing this nonsense. the end for some will be painful but quick for others it will take time but this is definatley a nail in the coffin of 2/3 of our football clubs la liga/serie A here we come

  • Comment number 44.

    well the premier league moving the goalposts to suit their ends yet again. earlier this week there was the 'no relegation' statement of intent and now this. Maybe British Football in general would be miles better without this overpolished **** that is the premier league. Maybe they can all fly off somewhere nice and remote and leave the real football clubs behind.

    For what it's worth I know my club voted no.

  • Comment number 45.

    Since when is blackmail legal?

  • Comment number 46.

    Richard Scudamore in propaganda shocker. Barry Fry was there, what was his view? Something along the lines of we owed a responsibility to our communities to keep these centre going, to give people a focus for talented local footballers, and a lot of clubs couldn't turn down the money (£220k at Champ Level apparently provided the club put a further £105k of funding in). Nobody liked it, but they felt they had to vote for it.

    I do help out in a centre of excellence, and it makes me feel like packing up. Trying to give something back to your club, and the game that previously gave such enjoyment, means spending many many hours at junior football. The idea that all of this effort would go in, so a local rival (of all people) could come and pay a pittance for the player, you have put a lot of effort into recruiting and developing makes me feel physically sick.

    If the prem clubs are so good at what they do, then why did they miss Joe Hart (Shrews) Micah Richards (Oldham), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Forest), Daniel Sturridge (Coventry), Tom Cleverley (Bradford), Jermaine Defoe (Charlton), Fabien Delph (Bradford) - and many many more, all poached or bought from lower league clubs for either an agreed amount, or tribunal set amount. These players haven't had their development hindered by being at lower league clubs, in fact, it would be interesting to see how many home grown payers in the prem have come through prem academies, versus being bought in at early/mid teens from lower league centres or academies.

    The idea that players at 22/23 would drop to our leagues, and then improve it is also a ridiculous notion. A lot of these players won't have any match experience, like most of the academy / 1st/2nd season pros now, and they fall hard, they fall to non league, or bottom 2 divisions. Those that are deemed not good enough for the big boys, will be sold back for much more than the pittance they were initially stolen for. Jack Cork went to Southampton for £1m from Chelsea, it would be interesting to see how much Man City want for Mee or Trippier at Burnley, and Man Utd kept charging around £1.5m for the likes of Eagles, Lee Martin et al.

    All in all, the restriction of trade on these clubs, with Financial Fair Play, and now removing the one stream of income that a small team could work hard to get an advantage in means in my eyes that the football league will get shaken out to a natural order. Line the league up by attendances, and you'll find your natural position. My club, apparently 48th - a yo yo club between League 1 and the Championship, whcih will result in small crowds, smaller income, smaller lower quality squad, and a lower natural position. Today, is the day, the premier league finally killed the football league.

  • Comment number 47.

    I share the disappointment of many. I can't understand why the government has not stepped in to stop the Premier League bullies.

  • Comment number 48.

    Typical bullying tactics by the Premiership, are they unstoppable in their drive for more and more greed?

    Having said that very players who come through lower league youth setups earn their clubs big money, the John Bostocks and Walcotts of this world are few and far between. If Southampton have built their business plan on it then more fool them.

    Surely the point of a youth setup is to create first team players for the level the club is at primarily, that's hard enough to achieve on its own.

  • Comment number 49.

    Some FL chairman have sold their soul, for what ?

    surely it's better to die fighting for what is right, rather than a slow painful death under a greedy dictatorship, i mean atleast try and show some BOTTLE

    and how on earth will this improve England....... there are already many good young english players sitting in PL reserves ROTTING, how is allowing these clubs to possibly TREBLE that number going to help. Just more and more wasted talent with no chance of ever playing

  • Comment number 50.

    It was out and out blackmail. Frankly it would have been great to see all 72 clubs abstain.
    What troubles me most about this is that it now opens the door for a new era of child slave labour. Yes a good 11 year old will need their skill nurtured, but dragging them away far from their home, only for a few years later to be cast aside because someone else can be dragged in for next to nothing from elsewhere only to be forgotten about? They're lured by the prospect of millions but for the majority they are dumped aside.

    As many public services these days such as schools and hospitals have to produce tables highlighted their performance, or lack of, why can't the FA force all football clubs to publish records of their youth setups? Simply by listing the number of first team matches played by players who have been through their youth system from various stages, and then listing the number school hours and football hours provided (systems like Watford's are an excellent example of basing the academy within a secondary school).

    Parents of such talented boys are to blame as well. There must be so many that don't see past the thought of "Oh Chelsea are a big club, he's sorted for life and keep us through our retirement" and fail to see the bigger picture.

    Crewe Alexandra of the 80s and 90s produced a large number of players that went on to much bigger things. Now if a club could publicise that in a season 40% of the players used in first team league matches came through their youth ranks and half of those were here when they were 13, that would send positive signals about a set up. Whereas a Big Four FC were to do the same thing I would imagine the figures would be a lot closer to 0%, if not actually 0%. If a parent saw those sort of figures then, as a parent myself, I know what I would choose. It's about long-termism but the business rather than sport aspect has made it oh so short-sighted.

    I wonder if in 10 years time these owners arelobbying for the government to allow human genetic enginering to build their next generations of players by design.....

  • Comment number 51.

    Kentbee - Southampton have sold Walcott, Bale, Oxaide-Chamberlain, the midfielder at Wolves, for over £30m. Looks a pretty solid business plan to me. They'd be lucky to get £600k now - not such a good business plan going forwards.

    Stockport sold their keeper to Liverpool a few years ago, Millwall sold Ryan Amoo to Liverpool, Burnley sold John Cofie to Man Utd, Bradford this week sold George Green to Everton, MK Dons have generated £2m from the lad to chelsea, Crewe have sold players in the past - all to survive or develop. I don't think they are as few and far between as you think.

  • Comment number 52.

    Maybe the Premier League and Championship clubs who are not producing players are villains, but a bit sad to see that the lower league clubs only seem to see kids as potential commodities. Maybe its a bit unreasonable to expect professional football clubs to make a contribution to the development of the game for the game's sake. Never mind, after what I've just read I'd best see if I can get my ten year old's legs insured!

  • Comment number 53.

    Another thing following this vote, would be if the Football League clubs each made a pact to not get any Premiership players in on loan. If they want to steal a club's next generation of players for next to nothing, then they themselves should be solely responsible for bringing them up to their required standard, not to be farmed out to the likes of clubs who have already been stripped of their young talent.

  • Comment number 54.

    Some great comments, idea and debate - really appreciated as it is what these blogs are all about.

    NeilSymons - post 53 - the reality is that lower league clubs would all have to agree to this and stand firm. If one club broke ranks, then it would all collapse like a house of cards.

    As for the idea that Football League chairman have sold their souls - I'm afraid for some it is a case of not being able to turn down the cash.

    I cannot speak for everyone and so maybe some do see their young talent purely as a commodity but I do not think you would find many youth coaches who think like that. They are not highly paid and give over lots of their time. Their kids matter to them and they care passionately.

  • Comment number 55.

    As a supporter of a League Two club I find this quite frustrating. My club is Shrewsbury and as well as Joe Hart we have produced a few other players who have played in our first team in the last few seasons: Tom Bradshaw and Jon Taylor, to name a couple. Both have done well and the fans all appreciate a player who has graduated from the youth team.

    I worry that with this new system, we may scrap our youth system in a few years because there is no financial benefit.

    In a seperate point, how can anyone justify players moving to Premier League clubs so young as being beneficial to the national team. This point has been made but they will find their route to the first team blocked by other players with more experience, and likely to be foreign.

    Would talented youngsters not be better off learning their trade in the Football League, before moving to top clubs. Joe Hart made over 60 appearances in the Football League before becoming England's number one.

    I just hope that because of this new ruling, players don't end up like John Bostock - having to settle for low key cup games and reserve team football, when they could be improving in first team football.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 56.

    @46 danheap

    If the prem clubs are so good at what they do, then why did they miss Joe Hart (Shrews) Micah Richards (Oldham), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Forest), Daniel Sturridge (Coventry), Tom Cleverley (Bradford), Jermaine Defoe (Charlton), Fabien Delph (Bradford) - and many many more, all poached or bought from lower league clubs for either an agreed amount, or tribunal set amount. These players haven't had their development hindered by being at lower league clubs, in fact, it would be interesting to see how many home grown payers in the prem have come through prem academies, versus being bought in at early/mid teens from lower league centres or academies.

    These aren't all great examples. Richards was in the Oldham system for one year as a 13 year old - he'd previously been in the Leeds system. Sturridge was at Aston Villa for 4 years before spending one year in the Coventry system. Cleverley was at Bradford for one year before joining United as a 14 year old. Defoe really developed in the Penrab Sunday league team before Charlton signed him at 14 and sent him to the FA School of Excellence. I could go on. The point is that the teams you quote had minimal investment in the kids and in most of the cases they had moved on the the Prem clubs by the time they were 14 - there really wasn't a lot of development done at the lower division clubs. Additionally they are almost poster children for the positive aspects of development through a Prem club system. They all have made it to their respective first teams - despite the widespread belief that they would be crowded out by foreign (or more experienced) players.

  • Comment number 57.

    QUICK CORRECTION - Contrary to what I said in post 15, I have now been told that Reading did vote in favour of EPPP. Sorry about that.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think we need to read the EPPP before jumping to conclusions. The reality is that not all 92 league clubs operate a system whereby young boys are looked after sufficiently to make the most of the talent; this situation is also geographically biased. If you live in an area that has not got a club who invests properly in a youth system, you have no chance and are disadvantaged. Some professional clubs in the Football League still have coaches taking youth teams who have not got the proper qualifications and they are allowed to get away with it! I fail to see the recognition that over 20 clubs in the 12 years of the current system have never produced a home grown player who has played more than 1 year as a professional, yet these clubs have been getting £180 000 in funding for 12 years - what a waste!

    In other countries they concentrate their players into fewer clubs/centres and they work with the best coaches; the reality is that our system is too inconsistent and the national team has struggled as a result.

    The PL is a money making organisation there is no doubt, but for the FL clubs to try to cling onto an outdated system, well this is the exact kick up the rear needed to ensure that clubs commit to youth development and do it properly, or get out!

  • Comment number 59.

    If English football really wants to develop new talent, they need to end the loan system, so that the big clubs can't cherry-pick all the best talent at a young age. Too many good young players never get a chance to play

  • Comment number 60.

    If anybody really believes this will assist the International side is deluded. The Premier has never shown any interest in that and doubt it ever will. This is more to do with a lazidacal approach towards the game. There will be no more home grown players playing in the Premier, why don't they now? They will continue in the same in the same vain and be allowed to rot in the reserves, assuming a Premiership side can be bothered to have one. Palace's academy is second to none, Southampton continue to churn out very good players. Why should these clubs be penalised. I know money talks, but it is not always the solution. Chucking cash around willy nilly is far different to investment and I am afraid our game has lacked the latter for years. For me, there are more fundamental problems which the those controlling the game have ignored for years. Most British players are technically bereft when compared to our international counterparts. We can barely name an Englishman to replace Capello. If a club has an accreditted Academy it should be on par with all others. It should not matter what division that Academy is in. Surely playing is better than sittting on a Recarro seat - ask John Bostock. There is no guarentee Premiership Academies are any better. Look at Academy League. The FA is the perfect acronym, the FL should be ashamed of themselves and Mr Scudamore should take a serious look at himself. Rant over!

  • Comment number 61.

    An absolute disgrace by the chairmen voting 'yes'. They'll happily place a few extra pennies in their pocket for the next four years without thought to the implications to English football as a whole. As a Burnley fan I'm proud that we voted 'No'. The Premier League has basically forced its will upon the Football League in nothing more than a bid to get cheap talent.
    As many 'selling clubs' depend upon their youngsters to fetch them a nice price simply for the club to stay afloat, the Football League has more than likely just signed the death warrant for more than one club, and quite frankly I'm horrified that the FA is not only praising, but actively supporting this plan. How can it be that the organisation in charge of English football, one that pushes the idea of 'grass roots football' is in favour of creating an even bigger gulf between The Football League and The Premier League. By creating an environment where all the youngsters with even one jot of talent get picked up by the bigger clubs, where are the next generation of Football League players going to come from? A youngster who came through one of the Premier League teams' academies will be reluctant to go any play for the likes of Accrington or Brentford, and its likely their wages may even be beyond the reaches of such clubs.

    One of The FA's selling points in this is the strengthening of the England national team. I put it to The FA that if they asked the fans of the Football League clubs, whose expense this possible future success will be built on the backs of, what they'd prefer to see - their club being given a fair price for youngsters, and by extension the financial ability to either stay afloat or to be competitive, or the success of the next generation of over-payed, under-appreciative, Premier League 'giants' who will form the England Team (a team very few feel represents English football at all), I fear The FA would have a hard time finding anyone to support their vision.
    The fact of the matter is that League Football is the heart and soul of English Football. It is what the fans pay to see week in, week out. The England team comes a far second in the eyes of the majority of people. Club first, country second. It is an insult firstly to think that the average fan cares more about the success of the England team, a team of players most only ever see on TV than the players they see every week, and secondly that that success must be built at the expense of Football League clubs - be it by their lack of competitiveness or their very existence.
    The Premier League has an incredible income - what business they have forcing the minnows that form the roots of the English game to support them, I'll never know.

    Plus if its a £5 million gift, isn't that less than £70,000 per club per year? If that is the amount it takes to buy off the majority of the Football League, surely it shows a massive lack in funding, which is only going to be compounded by this disastrous implementation

  • Comment number 62.

    i'm a Palace fan

    Our academy costs 2M+ a year to run, we rely on it for good young players keeping us competitive

    when Bostoc£ (at the time star of our academy) walked out we got 700k, not even half of what's needed to keep that academy viable

    under proposed scheme we'd only get 129k....

    this is worrying

  • Comment number 63.

    The aim of this is to bring through additional potential from within England, if the lower league clubs develop their system and scouting then they can and probably will earn more money from the new system as said, more of the english talent will move on up the tiers of football.
    if you look at the squads of most English premier league clubs and notice the amount of young foreign talent in there you would agree thats where the problem stands in our player decline.
    Until there is a restriction on English clubs signing under 16s from other country's this is the best way forward, as i dont see any restrictions forth coming then plan b is best.

    good? bad? only the English game will show in 5 - 10 years time!

  • Comment number 64.

    What next, square balls for teams outside the premier, all games to be played on a Wednesday morning and any revenue given to your nearest Premiership side. Go on Scudamore you might as well as it matches all the other ridiculous ideas you have com up with. We should all be so grateful to that national treasure that is the Premier. A league built on greed and image over substance. I despise the premier, particularly the arrogant elite. I really want them to play in that silly breakaway European league - please, please! We could then laugh at them all getting outplayed by Barcelona each week. Sorry for the typos earlier.

  • Comment number 65.

    @62 i'm a Palace fan

    Our academy costs 2M+ a year to run, we rely on it for good young players keeping us competitive

    when Bostoc£ (at the time star of our academy) walked out we got 700k, not even half of what's needed to keep that academy viable

    under proposed scheme we'd only get 129k....

    this is worrying

    Well having seen Bostock on loan to my club I think you got a good deal at £700k, granted Palace may not have seen it like that at the time. He has great talent but lacks something (application?) and maybe he symbolises the gamble that clubs take when they pay big money for any youth player (in effect a child)...too many are stars at youth level but just don't make the grade at the adult game.

  • Comment number 66.

    Oh dear.. this is another fine mess you've gotten us into Mutley.. drat and double drat.

    Bring back street style football if you wanna add value to the state of the art facilities. Relying on modern technology can turn players into athletic robots.

    Some of the best and most technical players in the world learned from the dynamics that make up a game of street football. then add Futsal into the equation, impliment it as part of our small sided model.

    So now you put street football, futsal and modern technology into the FA player development plans.. back the model for 10 years.. and look forward to producing technically better and more creative english players.

    And if you feel like showing off.. re consider how FA courses are delivered and what they focus on. I have never participated in an FA course, that educates me on how humans actually learn.

  • Comment number 67.

    #65 Kentbee

    Well having seen Bostock on loan to my club I think you got a good deal at £700k, granted Palace may not have seen it like that at the time. He has great talent but lacks something (application?) and maybe he symbolises the gamble that clubs take when they pay big money for any youth player (in effect a child)...too many are stars at youth level but just don't make the grade at the adult game.

    700k not exactly a high risk layout for a premier team, they can still stockpile a few at that price

    but you could be right, he may just be a bad apple... however on the flipside the whole move may have effected his mindset at such a young age, alot more money and lots of bad feeling, as a result he may have completely lost his way.

    He was poorly advised and it seems not for his benefit, had he stayed, worked hard and stayed happy maybe he would now be a regular in our MF with a healthy football career ahead, with a transfer value higher than 700k

    guess we'll never know

  • Comment number 68.

    The best team in the world gets a lot of it's players from one club, Barcelona. I can only see it being a good thing for the national team that the best young players are going to be concentrated together in the big clubs. It may be for the worst for some of the smaller clubs, but considering the frustration at the lack of success the national team have had, it's surely a price worth paying.

    Also the smaller clubs are almost starting to sound greedy, and is it really in a 14 year olds best interests to be told that he is worth £1.5 million?

  • Comment number 69.

    This is a sad day for the lower leagues, if this scenario materialises.
    Always, when the one who works is disadvantaged and the one who doesn't gains, there's bound to be something really negative taking place. What a pity!

    With all this cash that is generated via TV, it would only be fair if the Premier League multiply the help it provides to the lower leagues.

    Believing that the clubs with active, youth programs should always earn more than those that don't, I'd welcome a separate amount given to such clubs.

  • Comment number 70.

    This system is good for English football. We need to spend more time with youngsters and this is what the eppp does. The academy director who said man utd would not be bothered is completely wrong. Alex ferguson was all in favour of it especially after his team was dismantled by barca. He said that English teams would be massively disadvantaged against barca if they couldn't coach the youngsters as much as barca. For all those saying it is worrying for the fl it isn't that bad because a 16 year old who isn't quite good enough for the arsenals of the world can rebuild his career at a FL club while having all the coaching at an elite academy.

  • Comment number 71.

    Surely 5M pounds is peanuts spread across 72 clubs, the revenue from transfers must dwarf that?
    Wouldn't it have been better to apply a levy to each fee paid under the traditional system which could surely be pooled and made to match or exceed the 5Mil?
    The Football League is the lifeblood of the game and the Premier League would be considerably diminshed if the League is made to suffer. Bullying by the Prem? Sure looks like it.

  • Comment number 72.

    I am not really sure what happening to football, talks of stopping promotion and relegation to the prem firstly. How stupid is that from a footballing perspective, i would imagine that eve clubs in league 2 have long terms plans to aspire to eventually play in the Prem.

    The lower clubs needs money and the good example is Southampton who have developed and sold on a number of decent players, Walcott probably the most high profile. Then this in turn gives them funds to get the best players to boost there chances of getting higher up in the league.

    This sounds very bad to me to have this new system and it must be coming from the foreign owners.

    Everyone agrees that our youth system needs to be better to match the likes of Spain, but going about this way is just lining the pockets of the greedy board members who have no interest in the actual game itself and just see it as a profit making business.

    Soon the Prem will have no English owners and the clubs will be called Air Qatar, and New York yankies.

    Baffled truly baffled that these measures can even be thought of in the first place.

  • Comment number 73.

    Yet again we see that the clubs who are so called bigger get more money and have to do even less work by going to clubs like Orient who have been a selling club since I can remember and then you get a so called sulking Premier league telling the lower clubs its our ball if you dont do as we say we will take the ball away from you and you wont play I look forward to the day when the big money clubs loose the financial backing from SKY and all the things that brings with it and start to fold with massive debts and it will happen because the owners will just pull out and walk away leaving fans and clubs with nothing and clubs that have work within a budget and trained there own players will be playing in Europe with pride so again its just bullying with a posh name

  • Comment number 74.

    Haven't read all the posts yet but the general consensus is this is a bad idea. It does seem that many of the smaller clubs will find it even harder to compete and the clubs that have good young players already on their books and were budgeting for them to be sold for a decent price may find it harder to keep going as a club.

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this but what about having a clause where the original club gets the option to loan back the player bought? This could aid the player by giving him more game time and the club will get the fixed price transfer fee plus get to use the player on loan at some time in the future?

  • Comment number 75.

    Not sure exactly how it works but surely this is coming from the Premier League Committee and not from the Premier League clubs?

    If it is the clubs then i'm not sure i would want to continue to watch the EPL. Poor show!

  • Comment number 76.

    I just cannot believe the clubs have voted for this in such an overwhelming majority, the FL clubs had to stick together to protect themselves from this sort of short sited deal, but instead they have capitulated because the PL threatens to take finances away.

    For the 22 clubs that voted no its clear that they will now stop focussing on youth development, because quite frankly whats the point? they may unearth a gem only to lose him as soon as he's put in a few good youth team games as a big club can afford to gamble on him for a pittance!

    This will only be negative for the Engalnd team in the long term, as PL clubs scour the world for the best talents and forget to look in their own back yards, clubs with a rich history for producing local stars will have stopped looking and just pick up the deluge of youngsters released from the 'big clubs' every year as its the safer (and cheaper) alternative.

    Think about the players currently in the PL that did not come through a PL youth system, Hart and Parker of the england team too name a couple would possibly never have been identified as potential talents under this new system!

    Let the big clubs bankrupt football from the bottom up, and as the league as it is now slowly disappears I think most people will look at the forming of the PL in 1992 as the pivitol moment which changed football forever and will eventually lead to its decline!

  • Comment number 77.

    It would be to advance in child protection to shut down the academy system completely in order to save the 98% of children who are discarded from the life wrecking fantasy that they will become a Premiership player. This system gives false hope to thousands of victims who are defenceless against the odds. The cost for these children is enormous. Their social and educational development suffers from a ridiculous sense of inflated self worth that is cruelly deflated at 16. Clubs should be made to pay comPensation to children who don't make it. Maybe that would clean up this epic scandal.

  • Comment number 78.


  • Comment number 79.

    This is what will/is happening: The premier league are completely ripping the FL to pieces for their resources and leaving them with nothing, through blackmail.
    The divide between the premier league and the football league will be EVEN MORE ridculous!!!
    And funnily enough I have a theory- The Premier league ARE actually trying to attempt to scrap relegation under everyones noses without anyone realising it. Sure there still will be relegation, but when the gap between the premier league and the Championship is so vast, there might as well not be. In the future you will see the 3 Championship teams go up and then go straight back down again.

    Modern football is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 80.

    @70 AndyB32

    No this is good for PREMIER LEAGUE football.
    Obviously all the top clubs will be all for it - it saves them money!! Do Barca coach more players than manutd? Not sure how you can say that. The difference lies in the way they are coached.
    By the way a 16yr old who 'is not quite good enough' for the arsenals under this ruling, would still end up at 'the arsenals'. Why would they risk kicking themselves in the future (when this kid turns out being a superstar), over a few measly grand?
    Even if 'the arsenals' opted not to pursue the player, he will move to another prem team slightly lower down in the table.

  • Comment number 81.

    What a ridiculous notion kencharman (post 77)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Shut Academies because they give false hope!!!!! On this premise we should also stop children from taking maths exams for fear they never go to university, prevent them from learning a musical instrument incase they never perform at the Sydney Opera house, ban them from sports day incase they never win an olympic gold medal, and stop them going to drama club for fear they never appear in a Hollywood blockbuster.......

    A good Academy is not just about the end result. Professional football is not the be all and end all. Its a bout the process. The skills a player develops along the way such as communication, teamwork, leadership, professionalism, dedication, time management. The experiences they have such as visiting new countries, speaking in public, behaving as a role model. Most importantly the process prevents players from engaging in anti social behaviours. Best to be in an Academy 10 hours a week rather than on the streets.

    Its people like kencharman, agents and parents who have unrealstic expectations of Academies that give false hope.

  • Comment number 82.

    The right direction should be banning players from moving away from their clubs until they turn 18

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm predominantley a rugby fan, but I still hold a place in my heart for my football club Tranmere Rovers. We are a prime example of a club who sells to survive. Steve Coppell to Man United, Dixie Dean left us at 16 and headed over the water, Jason Koumas to West Brom, Steve Simonsen to Everton, Dale Jennings to Bayern Munich, Aaron Cresswell to Ipswich.

    The fact is that all of these players have been developed by us as a club and gone off to bigger, (supposedly) better teams (not always at our own agreement - Cresswell to Ipswich springs to mind).

    What really worries me is that we produce these players and sell them on to survive. We are one of only a few FL teams that aren't in debt and we operate on a shoe-string budget. I think this new ruling may be the final nail in the coffin for a team that has provided plenty of young talent to big clubs.

    And the sad thing is, it wasn't that long ago (10 years) that we were a team the big boys used to fear, we were the giant killers of the late 90's early 2000's. At least I'll still have the memories of being at the old Wembly to watch them play in a final and being at Goodison Park when we spanked Everton 3-0

  • Comment number 84.

    As a parent with a boy in a non EPL academy I am in 2 minds about this. As I understand it the academy will get more compensation if a boy is successful in the EPL, but standard if he is not. This reduces the risk for EPL academies bringing youngsters on and should give more the chance at that level. Where this is convenient for the family and in the boys interest I do not really have a problem.

    However, in all this posting there appears to be no mention to the choice of the boy or parents. These boys are not commodities. Football fits in somewhere amongst family, school and community. So my boy will stay with his very successful local non EPL academy until he is emotionaly ready to move into the big wide world, whether that is in football or not. This will not be driven by the desire of anyone to sign him for an EPL club should the opportunity arise. I would like to see more on how the FA intends to improve the welfare for these vulnerable children and less on the future business of the game.

  • Comment number 85.

    This proposal sounds very much like the German system. Except in Germany they don't have the same tradition or level of support in lower league football. Once again we've failed at a major championship and thought "lets copy someone elses system". Without fully considering the consequences or even attempting to implement the other elements that make those systems work (kids will still be playing on full size pitches and small kids with skill will still be shown the door, while some untalented big hoofers get youth contracts).

    Our system needs changing, but this is just blackmail. "Do we say or we'll take our money away".

  • Comment number 86.

    Just a thought, why did the 46 clubs vote for this? I know it might have seen the withdrawal of around £70k a year, but i can't imagine that would have worried any championship clubs, nor clubs like the two Sheffield sides in div 1. Then there must be a lot of sides who have done really well out of selling young players in the past, e.g. Shrewsbury, Crewe, MK Dongs, Charlton etc where youngsters have been sold to premier league clubs recently for far far more than £70k. The only clubs who should have voted for this are ones who survive on tiny crowds who haven't much of a youth set up.

  • Comment number 87.

    Another thing not addressed is we complain about young English players not getting regular football at a top club. Then we keep quiet when a good young player effectively goes from playing regular first team football at a mid-table premiership club, to sitting on a subs bench at a bigger club and rarely playing in their bigger matches. For example Shaun Wright-Philips at Chelsea. Before he even went there I said he wouldn't get the regular football he needed to play to get to the next level. Don't get me wrong, he played a lot. But he didn't start the big games that really mattered and made a player step a level.

    In other countries, international bosses would have a word in the player's ear about moves that may stunt their progress. You rarely see the top countries regular starters warming the benches because they know their international careers could be affected.

  • Comment number 88.

    I actually think at a base level there is nothing wrong with this system simply because it allows best players to have the best training. The only changes i would make is to increase the set amount of money and have a mandatory buy back/first refusal clause set at the same amount if either the player or the club feel that he is not making enough progress.

  • Comment number 89.

    This will simply kill lower league football.

    My club Watford have a brilliant academy system. Regularly over the last few seasons over half of our starting 11 will be from our academy. Despite suffering multiple financial problems we have survived purely developing players and selling them on.

    Two players I would like to point out.

    Harry Forrester - Hugely promising youth team player (capped at various England levels) at Watford was snatched by Aston Villa (amoung interest from Man Utd and Spurs) when he was around 15/16. I don't think he ever played a game for Aston Villa. Now finds himslef struggling to get a game for Brentford.

    Ashley Young - Another promising player (although interestingly not rated as much as Forrester) rejected interest from bigger clubs to play first team football. Had 2/3 seasons playing first team football. Turned down bigger clubs to join Aston Villa where he was guaranteed first team football. Got better and more consistent then got his big money move. Also earned Watford about 12million aong the way.

    One player is no where to be seen the other is first choice for Man Utd and England.

    Now tell me with the new rules what example are we going to see more of???

  • Comment number 90.

    @ 80 Dont call my name Dont call my name Chicharitoooo

    The main thrust of the EPPP is to increase the amount of hours a kid can be coached between the ages of 7-16. On the continenet such as spain kids get twice as many coaching hours as english kids (6000 compared to 3000). The EPPP is designed so academies can link up with schools or create their own schools so that they can have access to the player during the day.
    A club that has a category 1 academy may have 10-15 players per year group. Some of these players will be released each year by the club (not quite good enough) and these players will have benefitted from high hours of coaching. Each year in the premiership there are 100s of players released from premiership academies. That will continue to be the case moving forward.
    The reason they wanted to change the tribunal system was to try to stop clubs going abroad to fill they academies with cheaper foreign kids. However, I agree there should be a better system. Perhaps there should be a susbstantial sell on clause % that rises per year the player was at the orginal club. For example a club who loses a 12 year to a chelsea gets 10% of the sell on fee if chelsea ever seel, a 13 years old 12%, 14 year old 14%, 15 year old 16% and so on. That may make it more fair.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ipswich sold Connor Wickham for £8m this summer. Scudamore you can take your EPPP and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

    This will only benefit Premier League clubs while destroying foundations and legitimate business models aimed at the survival and preservation of clubs.

    Premier League filth, it's a poo with a bow round it and us Football League clubs all have to take a bite (bar Hereford and Morecambe who get rewarded for nothing).

    It's nothing short of a disgrace and the FA are too weak to stand up to this. Money is dominated by football now, it's not for the working man any more but billionaires and leaches sucking money out of the game, booo!!!!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    A lot of the points on here are well made with particular reference to parents of children who will nearly always choose the Man U's and Liverpool's over Peterbrough & Prestons of the world.

    I play rugby for a local team and the area where I play supported 8 clubs who play in the rfu leagues. Now two of them have folded and one struggling to field a side. The "big" club in the locality used to play premiership rugby and every sunday you see hundreds of kids at this club, with each junior team having 30-40 players in their ranks. This means that half the kids do not get a regular game, but they and their parent can say "I play rugby for a big club". All they need to do is walk five minutes down the road to play regularly and probably enjoy it more.

    I imagine that same will happen in football more regualrly now.

  • Comment number 93.

    A further nail in the coffin for football in this country. No wonder our national side is so poor (when up against the stronger national sides in the world) when good young talent disappears into the depths of the big premiership clubs hardly to be seen again. Still, as long as we have 4 EPL 'champions' every year to represent us in the money spinning (but incredibly boring) Champions' League.

  • Comment number 94.

    Far too much money and power with the PL already and this only helps them further while reducing income for the already struggling FL clubs. Agree with previous comments for the FL to go it alone. I wish the middle and bottom leagues of the PL would join them and let the big four/five/six wallow in their piles of cash.

  • Comment number 95.

    Regarding our (Crewe's) perspective. Our academy faces the risk of losing our youngsters to ‘bigger’ clubs all the time, so has this changed? What remains however is Crewe’s reputation for allowing these younger players the opportunity to play first team football, and this is still something that will be in our favour regardless.
    On the other side, those youngsters who don’t make the grade at these ‘bigger clubs’ will always be given another chance further down this ‘pyramid’, with the likes of Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage and David Platt, all players who fitted into this category.
    This gives me hope that all is not lost, and in these times of so-called greed, there are youngsters whose parents recognise the above and recognise the benefits of their kids serving time at somewhere like Crewe, where they know they will get the development and opportunity needed to progress within the game.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ AndyB32

    I have heard a lot about the number of hours kids need to be coached and spoken to academy coaches about it. It appears that the target times are widely misunderstood. Kids in UK academies typically get about 6 or 7 hours coached per week plus a training game (1 to 1.5 hrs). This probably equates to about 3000 hrs by age 16 which is about right. At European academies (like Barcelona) outside normal schooling I understand that they get 1 or 1.5 hrs a day 5 days a week - 5 to 7.5 hrs. To achieve 6000hrs coaching they would need to be with a coach about 16 hrs per week (3hrs per day 5 days a week) over a 42 week season, which is not feasible for the kid - he would be tired and not enjoying it. Full time scholars are probably not doing this much. The figure comes from other activities - tournaments, playground football, tennis, other physical activity. It is not all football coached contact time. Perhaps a level 1 academy may 'facilitate' these other activities, but I am sure that kids with this level of ability do them anyway as a matter of course.

  • Comment number 97.

    Whether this marks the death knell for lower league football is in the hands of time - but, yet again, the PL teams flex their collective muscles and the lower clubs have to toe the line.

    How can anyone say that this benefits the English team? - where is the evidence, or are they just spouting out re-hashed lines.

    As a fan of a team in the PL my interest and loyalty to my club is gradually being chipped away season by season. The EPL is no longer a joy to watch. Sure there are games that catch the raw passion and excitement, but in general, the games are clouded by feckless prima donnas putting in a theatrical display of pathetic dives and fake injuries.

    And, at best this idea will promote the bigger clubs in 'stealing' young players at knock down prices so that they can teach them the art of winning a crafty free kick or a penalty by using borderline simulation - whilst the youngster looks forward to buying his baby Humma and the collecting fake tanned girlfriend.

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 98.

    As I understand it, the scheme is as follows:

    1. Increased fixed fee independent of whether you have a youth scheme or not.
    2. Reduced fees to poach youth, which of course discriminates against those with a good youth system.

    I cannot think of a more ridiculous scheme in my life. It rewards sloth and laziness of having no youth system and penalises those who do the good, decent thing by developing local talent.

    The following are required for a good England system:

    1. Good youth coaching.
    2. Entry into an appropriate level of competitive football at 16 - 18 in the presence of good coaches.
    3. Regular 1st team football from 18 - 22 in the presence of good coaches and tacticians.
    4. Playing at the level you can achieve from 23 to career's end with the best managers and coaches you can find.

    I think the key, key issue here is whether a fair fee can be achieved for talent which progresses in the Football League. Because the reward system at arbitration is a scandal.

    The issue to be debated is what punishments EPL clubs must receive if they destroy the potential careers of a lot of footballers to create one or two star players.

    They might behave more judiciously, more honourably and more considerately if they knew such punishments were in place.

    It might be wise for the FA, UEFA and FIFA to impose them.............

  • Comment number 99.

    The problem with this discussion is its unbalanced. There seems to be an assumption that all the youngsters going to bigger clubs are potential superstars and if they fail its the buying clubs fault. John Bostock is a case in point, hyped as world class when Spurs bought him, he's achieved nothing. While he's been failing at one loan club after another O'Hara has moved through the ranks and established himself as a Premier league player. Livermore is now establishing himself in the Spurs first team squad and Caulker, Townsend and Carroll are making good progress. The difference is attitude not talent. Maybe the Premier League clubs are just fed up with paying huge sums of money for players who don't make the grade. At least this way they get what they pay for.

  • Comment number 100.

    These are rules for under 17's only. As soon as a player gets to 17 he can sign a professional contract and the selling club can ask for any fee they want, which I feel has been very understated!!! Maybe this should have been pointed out by Mr Fletcher. So the EPPP is a plan for only players aged 16 and under. Southampton sold Walcott, Bale Oxlade-Chamberlain and the like when they were 17 or over. Likewise may I add that although Arsenal, for example, may blood only a few youngsters, 90% of Arsenal graduates go on to make successful footballing career, likewise with Man Utd graduates


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