PL announce academy reform
Academy system set for overhaul
Last Updated: 02/09/10 9:55am
Scudamore: Premier League chief executive
Premier League chiefs have revealed a radical plan to reform youth football as they target a dramatic improvement in the quality of the England team.
Under the plan, top-flight academies will be told to provide 15 to 20 hours of coaching for their nine to 16-year-olds instead of the current five hours.
The huge increase in hours would bring young players more in line with those in countries such as Holland, and academies will have to work with schools and open during summer holidays to accommodate the rise.
It follows a review by Ged Roddy, the Premier League's director of youth development who has spent months comparing youth systems in Spain, Holland and Germany and in other sports such as swimming and cycling.
The plan was agreed by the 20 clubs before England's failure at the World Cup and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insists this is not an admission that there are too many foreign players in the top flight.
"It's not an acceptance that we have to do something about the foreign players, it's the opposite - if you are going to make it as an English player into our first teams you have got to be world class," said Scudamore.
"There were 222 English-qualified players who played first-team football in the Premier League last season and we believe that is enough to find 11 to perform in international competition.
"What we really want is an England manager who is spoiled for choice.
"We all sensed it before this World Cup, there wasn't a huge debate about the squad - there was a little bit when he reduced it down to 23.
"What we really want in the build-up to major tournaments is to have 40, 50, 60 players in contention to get on the plane, that's really the objective rather than what looks a fairly self-selecting group.
"It's about increasing that pool, you want to be spoiled for choice in every position."
Scudamore admits that the increase in coaching hours for young players is "almost impossible" under the current school system.
He added: "I can envisage a day where in the north-west of England we have a Premier League school where a number of clubs have their boys.
"Or perhaps a sports school in London where a number of sports get together and have a school for elite athletes, whether it be swimmers, runners, rugby players or whatever.
"The state system and the mandated hours makes it almost impossible to get the coaching hours in."
Roddy says the average 18-year-old at Ajax in Holland would have had 6,000 hours of 'contact time' compared to 2,500 for the equivalent player in England. Elite teenagers in other sports also dedicate more hours to training.
Roddy said: "We have lagged behind and we need to reconstruct the system."
Academies will be reclassified depending on the amount of coaching they offer and given a ranking that will also determine the amount of compensation they would receive should a youth player sign for another club.
More compensation would be paid for a youth player from a four-star rated academy compared to a three, two or one-star academy.