Proposals to overhaul development of young talent get approval from clubs

Greg Clarke
Greg Clarke
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Football League chairman Greg Clarke hailed English football’s new Elite Player Performance Plan as “a major step forward” after the organisation’s member clubs approved the proposals.

The plans were passed by a margin of 46 to 22 at a meeting of the Football League clubs at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium, with three no-shows and one abstention.

The new system will increase the amount of coaching contact time for players in the country’s top academies, those granted category one status.

Payments to clubs for youth development will increase but the regulations also include the abolition of the transfer tribunal system, to be replaced by a fixed level of compensation – leading to fears that lower-league teams will lose their top young talent to bigger clubs on the cheap.

“We had a vote and it was strongly supported – the national game is behind developing better talent for the national side,” said Clarke. “There are two aspects to it, there’s the Elite Player Performance Plan which is pretty uncontentious really, a lot of good work done by people.

“Then there’s the compensation plan, which determines how much large clubs pay smaller clubs for youth talent at different ages, and it’s important clubs knew what they were signing up for and that each club had to decide whether they would be better or worse off financially under the new scheme.”

Leeds United and Huddersfield Town were among the 22 clubs who voted against the proposals.

Leeds have earned several millions of pounds down the years after having Academy products such as Danny Rose, Tom Taiwo and Martin Woods whisked away by Premier League clubs. The new tariff approach to transfer fees for young players will see an end to deals such as the initial £600,000 fee that took 16-year-old Luke Garbutt from Leeds to Everton in 2009, or 14-year-old Seyi Ojo’s recent £1.5m switch to Chelsea from MK Dons.

Clubs will be paid £3,000-per-year for every year of a player’s development between nine and 11. The fee per year for 12-16 year olds will depend on the selling club’s academy status, but will range between £12,500 and £40,000.