In a devastating blow to junior football and homegrown pathways into the professional game, Premier league club Huddersfield Town scrap all academy teams from U7s – U16s. A huge blow and one we hope doesn’t set a precedent to other professional clubs, please see extracts from a club statement from their website….
Huddersfield Town has confirmed plans to reorganise its Academy system after a lengthy review process conducted at Board level.
Led by Chairman Dean Hoyle and the Board of Directors, a detailed evaluation of the Club’s youth system and pathway to the First Team has taken place over the last few months.
A review of the way the Academy has operated since its inception in 1999, and particularly since the introduction of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), has been conducted.
Following this review, the decision has been taken to completely restructure the Club’s Academy system.
With immediate effect, the Club will commence the process of recategorising its Academy from the existing Category 2 setup to Category 4 under the EPPP.
Huddersfield Town is acutely aware of the impact this change will have on its existing players in the Under-8 to Under-16 groups in the Academy currently, as well as the impact on Academy staff. A consultation programme has already begun with those people affected and the Club will offer as much support as it can over the coming weeks to aid the transition.
Huddersfield Town Chairman Dean Hoyle explained:
“Since my first year as Chairman in 2009, we have taken great pride in always doing things our own way.
“The need to find ways of being competitive is more pertinent than ever following the Club’s promotion to the Premier League. We must find ways of being competitive against our peers.
“Huddersfield Town fully committed to the new EPPP rules introduced by the Premier League in October 2011, investing large sums of money to establish Category 2 status. The climate has proven difficult for this Club considering EPPP rules and the number of big clubs on our doorstep, which offers strong competition for the best local players with Category 1 sides.
“Our Academy system must provide a strong and obvious pathway to the First Team for players who are good enough, whilst also representing value for the Club. Upon review, this is not something that we could claim.
“This decision has been the biggest we have undertaken in my time as Chairman, and not an easy one. However, we cannot be afraid of change. This is a vital area to the long-term success of this Club and we must make every effort to get this right.”