The Youth Development programme which has been run by Premier League and Football League Clubs has been replaced by the Elite Player Performance Plan, better known as the 'EPPP'.
We as a club are proud that we have run our youth system as an academy. The new EPPP means that every football club running a youth academy will be graded from Category 1 to Category 4.
At present, Accrington Stanley has a provisional Category 3 licence. It is our aim to make this a permanent licence. The chairman, board of directors and staff are all working hard to making sure we give this club every opportunity to secure Category 3 status.
While we are working towards this goal it is important that we don't lose focus of what our academy stands for, by the way of producing players for our first team and possible transfer of players in the future.
At the same time, we see and support the new EPPP as we see other areas it will help us to develop. The new EPPP breaks the player development pathway into three phases.
The Foundation Phase (pre-academy and under 9-11)
The Youth Development Phase (under 12-16)
The Professional Development Phase ((under 17-18)
The EPPP requires that we undertake an audit process run by a Belgium company called Double Pass, in conjunction with the Football League. They will visit the Academy and assess how we coach and develop our players through our system. Double Pass will be with us for four days after which their findings will go back to The Football League for our category to be determined.