Championship - Football League approve radical youth plan

Thu, 20 Oct 14:01:00 2011

Football League clubs have voted in favour of a radical overhaul to the way young players from their academies can be bought by other clubs.

Fulham kids - 0

Of the 72 clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two 46 voted in favour of the changes while 22 were against the Elite Player Performance Plan. There were three no-shows and one abstention in the ballot.

It has been reported that the Premier League had been withholding vital funding to clubs lower down the divisions until the plan had been approved.

The Football League said in a statement: "Following lengthy consideration, Football League clubs have voted to accept the Premier League's proposals on the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

"The League will now continue discussions with the Premier League on the implementation of the EPPP across professional football."

There are concerns that the introduction of the EPPP could have serious repercussions for those sides at the bottom of the league pyramid.

The scheme has been designed to increase the amount of time that elite clubs work with youngsters, as well as widening the pool that Premier League clubs can pick from by abolishing the rule that under-16s must live within 90 minutes travel of their club.

The aim of the potentially revolutionary measure is to produce more technically adept players for the national side in future and ArsenalManchester United and Chelsea were involved in discussions after its conception.

However, the introduction of the EPPP will also impact directly on how much compensation smaller clubs receive when one of their young stars leaves to join a bigger club.

At present, the fee is determined by a tribunal but under EPPP, the compensation will be decided by a fixed scale. For players between the age of nine and 11, the club losing the player will receive £3,000 per year, rising to £40,000 per year for a player aged between 12 and 16 and playing in a category 1 academy.

In practice this means that smaller clubs will receive less money when they lose a player, although they will be due further payments based on appearances as well as a percentage of future transfer fees.

The Guardian details the example of Raheem Sterling who joined Liverpool from QPR for a fee of £600,000 in 2010. Under EPPP, the paper claims QPR would have received only £109,000.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has described the scheme as "a supertanker that's very difficult to stop now" and it is reported by The Guardian that the Premier League has withheld valuable solidarity payments to the Football League until the plan is approved.

With many lower league clubs already fighting against financial troubles, the new plans have generated some unease.

"If a club wants a player that badly then they pay what he's worth, and he goes," one director of a leading Football League academy told the Guardian. "But with the derisory compensation they're proposing I'm not sure the clubs will want all the players they're getting. They may just be casting the net."

However, an FA spokesman said: "The FA has been in consistent dialogue with the leagues regarding the proposals for future elite player development.

"The FA is fully supportive of the plan and any improvements to the player development system."

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