The powers that be at the Football League are all in meetings at the moment. Don’t bother trying to get hold of anyone; you won’t have much luck! My guess is that they are all debating the forthcoming new football academy rules and Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) that are due to come into effect from next season.
As far as we know, virtually all the football academies and centres of excellence have not yet finalised which tier they will be classified in next season. Only the big clubs, such as Manchester United and Manchester City, know which category they will be in come next season because they already have the funding, full-time staff, and the appropriate facilities to slot straight in as tier 1 academies.
The majority of academies and centres of excellence will be in either tier 2 or tier 3 with many academies dropping into the same tier as the centre of excellence clubs.
Historically, academies have played each other, however the new rules will mean that match days will change dramatically for academy players. From next season, they will play against centres of excellence as well as their local academies. The biggest difference players will notice is the poor playing surfaces at certain centres of excellence where matches are played on school fields with pitches that are not dissimilar to the quality of the average Sunday league pitch. Compared to the playing surfaces at the top academies, it will be like kicking a ball over a ploughed field in the winter months. Hardly a step forward for the academy player!
Do you know which tier you will be playing in next season?
At present the categorisation of professional clubs for next season appears to be a closely guarded secret, but we believe that players and parents have a right to know as soon as possible so we’d like to hear from you if you know which tier your academy or centre of excellence will be in next season.
Drop us a comment if you would like to share in the debate!