Explanation of Academy systemThe Royals have been granted Category One status in the Elite Player Performance Plan - but what exactly is the EPPP?
The EPPP is a long-term strategy designed to take Premier League Youth Development to the next level.
The strategy is the result of consultation between the Premier League and its clubs, representatives of the Football League, the Football Association and other key bodies in youth development.
It has six fundamental principles:
· Increase the number and quality of Home Grown Players gaining professional contracts in the clubs and playing first-team football at the highest level
· Create more time for players to play and be coached
· Improve coaching provision
· Implement a system of effective measurement and quality assurance
· Positively influence strategic investment into the Academy System, demonstrating value for money
· Seek to implement significant gains in every aspect of player development
It will do this by focusing on four main areas:
Academies have been independently audited and given a Category status of 1 to 4, with 1 being the most elite. Up to 10 different factors are considered in the grading, including productivity rates; training facilities; and coaching, education and welfare provisions.
The higher a club's Category the more funding will be available to it, and the EPPP will see the Premier League and FA invest more central income than ever before in Youth Development programmes across the country.
Having achieved Category One status, we will now have:
· A full fixture programme against other Category One clubs, ensuring the best possible challenges for our players
· The ability to attract the best players locally, nationally and internationally, as well as the chance to retain our best young talent
· Facilities of the absolute highest stanard
· The highest possible standards of coaching and maximum contact time between players and coaches
· The best possible medical, sport science and video analysis programmes for our youngsters
· Overall, the best chance for our young players to reach their maximum potential - be that in our first team, for their country or elsewhere in the professional game