Premier League Clubs Are Introducing New U-21 League
Premier League clubs are "devising a new league" designed to save the national team from the "technical wilderness" that cost them a place in the semifinals of Euro 2012, according to Matt Scott of the London TELEGRAPH. Managers from the 23 "category one" academies met to talk about the "format of a new league that will bring together" the country's top U-21 players in a competitive environment for the first time. The league will be the "highest-profile element" of the Elite Player Performance Plan. As a result of the plan, academies meeting certain criteria will receive Premier League grant funding. Category-one academies have to spend £1.5M ($2.3M) of their own team money on youth development but they will get £775,000 ($1.2M) of "top up grants." Category-two academies will need to spend £1M ($1.5) and they will receive £500,000 ($775,000) in grants. The previously termed "centres of excellence will now be category-three academies." Those will get £210,000 ($325,500) in grants and "only £105,000 ($162,800) from their clubs." The fourth category is for "clubs who concentrate only on the 16-plus age group" (TELEGRAPH, 6/27).