NORWICH City Football Club is delighted to announce that our Academy has officially been awarded Category One status under the Barclays Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) rules.
The news means the Club’s long-term vision to create a legacy of producing the very best home grown players has taken a huge leap forward after it was subjected to an independent audit which ranked academies into one of four categories, with Category One comprising the country’s elite.
A huge amount of work from staff at the Academy has gone into meeting the strict criteria over the past year, along with significant financial investment and support from the Club.
The Academy scored highly across the board in areas such as facilities, productivity, coaching, and education, and as a result has been granted a three-year Category One licence which is not subject to a re-audit during this period.
The benefits of attaining Category One status are vast, and means that the Club can now recruit players nationally, as opposed to the restrictions placed upon it by the ’90-minute rule’ in previous years.
A staggering £300M is also being pumped into youth development across the country by the Premier League, and as an elite Academy, part of that money will now be used to help Norwich City produce more and better quality home grown players for Chris Hughton’s first team.
Norwich City’s Chief Executive David McNally told Canaries.co.uk: “We are thrilled to have been granted Category One status as this will allow us to be at the forefront of elite youth development in England and will provide us with a competitive advantage over many years.
“Having been restricted more so than any other club in the country by the 90 minute travelling time recruitment rule, we are really looking forward to recruiting the best players nationally and plans are already in place to make the most of this opportunity immediately.
“All credit should go to Ricky Martin and his colleagues for achieving Category One status and we now look forward to them developing our Academy into one of the very best in the country.”
Part of the push for EPPP Category One status has included a huge recruitment drive, with the Academy adding even more talented coaches and staff to their ranks in order to help players develop at the Club.
This becomes even more significant should the Club ever quality for European competition again in the future, with UEFA rules stipulating that clubs must run a youth programme and its coaches have a minimum number of badges.
The EPPP is an ambitious vision for youth football that is being embraced across the country, having replaced the previous two-tier model of Academies and Centres of Excellence.
As well as massive structural redevelopment at our Colney training centre, the games programme has seen sweeping changes, with the old format of reserve team football being replaced by a vibrant new era of under-21s action, the aim of which is to bridge the gap between youth and first team football.
Overall, the goal for Norwich City is to nurture and develop the best home grown talent by progressing them through each development phase with the aim of producing more players capable of breaking into the first team, and the award of Category One status is a significant move towards that goal.