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Prem clubs 'set to kill football's feeder system'

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English football could be hours away from passing a death sentence on the feeder system which produced Joe Hart.

League clubs meeting in Walsall have been warned they could be “turkeys voting for Christmas” if they push through Premier League proposals to restructure the academy system.

Three Lions goalkeeper Hart landed at moneybags Manchester City via the academy at his hometown club, Shrewsbury - but the Mirror can reveal that the conveyor belt could be ruptured by rich clubs looking to hoover up all the nation’s brightest young talents.

To make sure the vote goes their way, the Premier League have threatened to suspend their annual £80,000 ‘solidarity’ payment to each of the 72 Football League clubs.

Academy directors warn the restructure would lead to:

* Fixed-price compensation when elite clubs take the brightest talents from smaller ‘feeder’ academies.

* Agents for primary-school children, as clubs fight for their signatures.

* Abolishing the ‘golden hour’ rule, which forbids clubs from signing schoolboys who live more than 60 minutes’ drive away.

* Possible closure of academies if they lose all their most promising kids to more affluent, grasping rivals.

The scramble for survival began when the Premier League’s director of youth, Ged Roddy - whose previous claims to fame include managing Team Bath - produced a blueprint entitled the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

Based on the laudable principle of raising standards - and broadly supported by Football Association technical development chief Sir Trevor Brooking - the plan contains more than 200 criteria for clubs who want their academies to be given Category One elite status.

Even clubs with enviable track records of producing home-grown talent, including Middlesbrough, Crewe, Crystal Palace, Watford and West Ham, may struggle to fulfil the EPPP requirements.

One academy director told the Mirror: “Some clubs are very unhappy, and you can hardly blame them when the Premier League is holding them to ransom and telling them to sign up for a revamp which is like turkeys voting for Christmas.

“The biggest bone of contention is that Category One clubs will be allowed to recruit youth team players from anywhere in the country.

“Another sore point is the proposed reduction of [the] compensation clubs would have to pay to take one of your best academy players.

“At the moment, those moves go to a tribunal if the two parties can’t agree a fee. But it’s going to be fixed - at a rate of £3,000 for every year a lad has been on the books of a club up to the age of 12. But Category One clubs can claim £25,000 for every year from 12-16.

“That is going to start bidding wars, and agents raising the stakes, over 10- and 11-year-old boys, and that can’t be healthy for the game.

“And when smaller clubs have been bled dry, and all their bright prospects have been signed by Chelsea or Manchester City, some of them are going to turn round and ask, ‘What’s the point of keeping our academy? Let’s shut the place down.’

“It’s a desperately worrying situation, and the Football League have recommended that we go along with it only because the Premier League have got us over a barrel.”

One manager keen to maintain a steady supply of academy talent to furnish the national team is Harry Redknapp, whose West Ham dynasty spawned Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole.

Redknapp, who is now drawing on Tottenham’s extensive academy pool of talent to furnish his first team, said: “The academy system is a massive part of English football’s conveyor belt and we should take care of it like the Crown Jewels.

“Finding good kids, and finding good coaches to work with them and teach the good habits, is absolutely fundamental - but finding the money, and funding the whole thing, is the tricky part.

“As a manager, there is nothing to match the satisfaction of seeing a kid coming through the system to play for his club, and going on to represent his country.

“I love it when that happens. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

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Guest M12 Part 2

wow ridiculous ideas

they need to improve the coaches in this country and give the kids more contact hours tbh.

raping the smaller clubs isnt the answer.

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Guest Portuguese

Raping smaller clubs has always been the answer.

It's the way of football 95% of the time tbh.

(rightly or wrongly)

Very true

here are some examples of small teams producing players only to be raped for them.







Cristiano Ronaldo




Rui Costa

  • Downvote 3

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And then they return the favour

Yeah but we get paid.

There's money in nursing.

And Arsen does full except say there is NO money

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