New Under-21 League Poised to “Rescue” English Football?
It’s no secret that problems exist in English football. Whether they are the result of mismanagement at the senior level, coaching inadequacies at the youth level, or a shallow talent pool is uncertain. In response to the perceived “issues”, which supposedly have caused poor results in international competitions (most notably being dominated for much of the match with Italy at Euro 2012), 17 Premier League clubs, along with six in the Championship division are poised to create an “Under-21″ league. Only QPR, the Swans and Wigan will not be represented. from the Premier League.
In order to become a “category -one” club, teams must spend £1.5 million of their clubs’ own money on youth development but will receive grants of £775,000. If a club, such as the three aforementioned, are not able to commit to category one, they can choose to participate in “category two”, which requires spending £1 million, with £500,000 in grants. There are also category three and four academies available. The third category requires spending £105,000 to go with £210,000 worth of grants, while category-four is strictly for clubs dealing with players who fall under the “16+” age range.
I hate sounding like a bloke from the associated press – sorry.
Actually, the idea is quite interesting, but I question how this league will necessarily improve the skill set of players in the long run. Considering the players who are representing England at the international level, most have come from youth academies run by some of the league’s top clubs as it is, competing in the Premier Academy League. I’m not sure there is a big difference between the two. And where do the reserves fit into the bigger picture? Would this league take away talent from reserve teams, or will it give extra playing time to those younger players who might not be benefiting from much playing time considering there is not an age limitation for reserves? See where I’m going with this?
The other argument from the FA is that because teams will get these grants they can continue to develop talent even if relegated as the grants are based on category, not on league position within the FA. So, let’s say team A from the Premier League gets relegated next year, as long as they are in category one they still collect the £775,000. Make sense? I hope so.
The under-21 league, if nothing else, will provide two important things:
1. It will give more playing time to young players who otherwise might see limited action on reserve teams.
2. It will provide more specific training/coaching to younger players who require something different from their older counterparts.
Good or bad, I suppose time will tell. I like the idea, but am not sold on how big its impact will be.
…until tomorrow, lads.