(1pm on 18th February)


Football League Clubs met yesterday (February 16th 2012) to discuss the rules that were adopted by Premier League clubs at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday 2 February 2012. The Football league will prepare its own set of rules but ultimately the aim is to adopt the same set of rules in order to implement the Elite Player Performance Plan as agreed by Clubs in October.

The Trust has obtained a copy of the proposed new Youth Development Rules which are extremely detailed and run to over a 100 pages and further details are given below.

Ipswich Town 1st remains committed to pushing for Ipswich Town to adopt category 1 status and is planning to present its petition signed by over 5,000 supporters to the Club’s Chief Executive before the game against Cardiff on Saturday February 18th  at 1pm.

Just to briefly recap our reasons for supporting a Category 1 application we believe the following;

  • It is a financially sound business decision
    • Yes it is potentially a large financial commitment but one supporters would prefer us to commit to rather than expensive contracts for ageing players
    • Over the last fifteen years sales of Academy players have raised over £35m (Fees as publicly reported – further details on Trust website)
  • The long term traditions of Ipswich for developing their own talent over many years
    • Ever since Jackie Milburn started the youth ser up in the early sixties young players have proved the backbone of the club, Mick Mills, Trevor Whymark, John Wark, George Burley, Mick Stockwell and many more, not forgetting the greatest of them all in Kevin Beattie.
  • The Supporters have a long term affinity with young players coming through the system
    • Even ex Academy graduates recognise the value of the youth team, witness the support given to the Academy by Jason Dozzell and Kieron Dyer   

Youth Development Rules

The rules focus on the following key areas;

  • Strategy, Leadership and Management of the Academy
  • Effective Measurement
  • Performance Management, Player Development and Progression
  • Staff
  • Includes numerous specialist staff such as Goalkeeper coach, Professional Development Coaches, Head of Academy Sports Science & medicine, Physiotherapist and a number of other positions but suffice to say more than the Club currently employ.
    • Coaching
    • Games Programme
    • Education and Welfare
    • Sports Science and Medicine
    • Talent Identification and Recruitment
    • Facilities
    • Includes for Category 1 for example one fenced off pitch with floodlighting
    • They even specify such items as a match analysis suite capable of holding 20 people
      • Finance, and
      • Compensation
      • There are detailed specifications on the calculation of compensation dependent on the age of the payer when he moves clubs and the divisional status of the Club to whom he transfers once he makes a professional appearance and the number of appearances he makes, but suffice to say the compensation arrangements are not particularly generous.

A Club must make an application to become an Academy under the new rules and they will be assessed according to certain criteria such as the minimum requirements in terms of finance, staffing, facilities, education and support facilities and the extent to which it achieves certain standards under its productivity profile which includes the transition of players through to professional status.

The Category of a Club’s Academy shall be determined by the percentage that the Club scores on the Audit Tool as determined by its ISO Audit established under the rules as follows:

1.1.             for Category 1, the Club must achieve a score of at least 75% on the Audit Tool;

1.2.             for Category 2, the Club must achieve a score of between 65% and 74% on the Audit Tool;

1.3.             for Category 3, the Club must achieve a score of between 50% and 64% on the Audit Tool; and

1.4.             for Category 4, the Club must achieve a score of between 35% and 49% on the Audit Tool;

provided that in each case it also complies with the minimum mandatory criteria applicable to the relevant Category.

One does have to remember that Football league Clubs have been pushed into a corner by the aggressive tactics of the Premier League in threatening to withhold payments to the Football League if they do not agree to the adoption of the Elite Player Performance Plan.

Notwithstanding this we very much hope that Ipswich Town continue to forge ahead with the rich tradition of the football club in developing its own players to the highest standard.


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