Saturday, October 22, 2011

The future's bright - for us, at least

Something you may have missed this week: the Football League voted in favour of the Premier League's Elite Player Performance Plan. The EPPP has essentially been formulated to enable Premier League clubs to get the best young players into their academies and working with the best coaches from a young age. All fine for the future of Premier League outfits like ourselves, as well as of the national side, but what about the Football League?

Bound up with the adoption of the EPPP was the scrapping of the tribunal system, by which smaller clubs are assured of a fair fee when their brightest prospects are poached by big boys like ourselves. Teenagers under 17 will now be available for a fraction of their true potential worth, which ultimately threatens the whole future of youth academies at clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two - and indeed the future of the clubs themselves. Those who develop and bring through young players into the first team before then selling them to help balance the books - Crewe, for example - are now facing a severe challenge to their whole philosophy and financial security.

So why, you might ask, did the Football League adopt the EPPP? Well, it's because the Premier League threatened to withdraw the £5m it gives to Football League clubs annually for youth development if the EPPP wasn't approved. But £5m amongst 72 clubs is an absolute pittance compared to the money clubs can make from developing and selling players (think, for instance, of the millions Southampton banked by flogging Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Arsenal), so it really was like turkeys voting for Christmas.

While fans of Football League clubs are dumbfounded by the move (and the Football League chairman Greg Clarke's bizarre volte-face on the issue), as a Newcastle supporter I for one am angry and embarrassed by the bullying and blackmailing tactics of the Premier League. And as for the nerve of Premier League chief Richard Scudamore dismissing the Football League clubs critical of the EPPP as "coming at the issue from an economic perspective"...

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Blogger Andrew said...

Why is this getting so much less attention than the (almost immediately debunked) relegation abolishment nonsense? Lack of a foreign bogeyman?

7:05 p.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Because the mainstream media are only really interested in the Premier League, and because the EPPP and the scrapping of the tribunal system is very much in the interest of Premier League clubs?

As I say, it's hard to see it as anything other than the Football League getting royally screwed over. Potentially catastrophic news for small clubs at a time when the pinch is already being felt very keenly.

7:38 p.m.  

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