Clegg: Effects of EPPP Not Yet Clear
Wednesday, 9th Nov 2011 13:06
Town chief executive Simon Clegg says it’s difficult to know what the full effects of the recently ratified Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) will be but believes the development could see smaller clubs lose young players to bigger sides. The Blues were amongst 22 Football League clubs - eight from the Championship - to vote against the Premier League proposals for an overhaul of the academy system, including a new compensation tribunal system, at a meeting at Walsall's Bescot Stadium late last month.
Since then there has been much speculation that smaller clubs could lose out, something Clegg says may well be the case: “The bottom line is that we really don’t know, but that is one way that you could read this movement.
“One reading of the new structure is that it would be easy for Category One academies to come in and poach younger players.
“We’ve just got make sure that we’re cute, smart and on the ball and we’ll do everything that we can to retain the players that we want, even if that is not in a way that contractually protects our interest.”
The Town chief executive says he doesn’t normally comment on the club's voting on Football League matters but feels strongly about this particular issue: “Generally speaking I don’t reveal how I vote because at the end of the day we’re tied to a decision.
“But I spoke against the motion and I was concerned because of our track record. We were effectively being held to ransom.”
The EPPP will see a new four-tier academy system introduced from 2012/13 with clubs receiving increased funding over a four-year period. Town’s youth set-up is likely to become a Category Two academy, however, Clegg isn't entirely ruling out the possibility of Category One status, which is primarily aimed at Premier League clubs and likely to be significantly more expensive to maintain.
He says that as with much else regarding the EPPP, the club needs to know more before making any decisions: “The devil is in the detail and we haven’t got the detail yet.
"If [a Category One academy requires] 14 full-time staff, and I’ve seen that figure bandied around, do they have to be individually dedicated members of staff? Can they be double-hatted and have other responsibilities?
“I really don’t know, but because we’re proud of our academy it’s something we need to look at in a lot of detail to see where we should be positioning ourselves going forward on the youth development front.”
Academy manager Sammy Morgan believes Football League clubs have been railroaded into agreeing to the new arrangements: "Eighteen months ago the Football League clubs received a solidarity payment on the understanding that there would be a football review.
"What has actually happened is that the Premier League has made the review, which the Football League had to follow because they have taken the money. The Football League has had to go along with what is coming back from the Premier League.
"We are producing talent, but the smaller clubs are being held to ransom and they just couldn't turn down the money, because without it they wouldn't survive."
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