Newcastle, Blackburn and Crystal Palace miss out on top Academy grade

Three of the 12 clubs who have been audited by Premier League have failed to achieve the aim of leading Category One status in major funding blow
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace have suffered the blow of failing to achieve the top grade under the new four-tier Premier League system for youth development, can reveal.

They were among the 23 clubs, 17 of whom were from last season’s top division and six from the Championship, who applied for the leading Category One status.

Twelve clubs have been inspected by the league’s independent standards organisation and the Professional Game Board has ratified the recommendations of the audit team.

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Fulham, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, West Ham and Wolves have taken the step of announcing in the last few days that they have been successful in achieving their Category One aim. understands that Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the other newly accredited Category One clubs.

However, Newcastle, Blackburn and Palace are believed to have all been awarded Category Two status. This will have considerable financial consequences and inhibits the academies’ capacity to produce future first-team players to follow in the footsteps of star graduates like Andy Carroll, Steven Taylor, Phil Jones, Victor Moses and Nathaniel Clyne.

The Premier League maintains its audit of clubs is ongoing and it will not make any announcement until the remaining Category One applicants have been inspected. The process will recommence in September, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa, Reading, Bolton Wanderers, Norwich, West Brom and Watford still to be audited.

Under the funding mechanism for the new system – called the Elite Player Performance Plan – each Category One club is projected to receive a minimum £775,000-a-year in Premier League funding from the youth development pot. Category Two clubs will receive a minimum £480,000, Category Three clubs £210,000 and Category Four clubs £100,000.

Each club is graded according to criteria such as facilities, productivity rates, coaching staff and funding, with a fixed tariff paid for players under 18 according to how much time has been invested in them.

Academies will be reviewed every two years and re-categorised if necessary.

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