New Football League rules set to short-change clubs on future stars

The Football League have today backed a controversial overhaul of the player academy system that will see Premier League clubs able to poach young stars for next to nothing.

The vote was passed by 46 to 22, with three no-shows and one abstention.

The new system is known as the elite performance player plan (EPPP) and will replace the established tribunal system in place. Now rather than an independent tribunal deciding a compromise between the two concerned parties on the value of the player a fee will be calculated based on how long the youngster concerned has been at their club’s academy.

This new system means a selling club is paid £3,000 per year for every year of a player’s development between the ages of nine and 11. This fee will increase when the player is between the ages of 12 and 16 with the fee per year ranging between £12,500 and £40,000.

To put this new system in perspective Chelsea have recently negotiated a £1.5m fee for 14-year-old MK Dons prospect Oluwaseyi Ojo that could rise to £2m. However if the new EPPP system was in place now they would receive an almost nominal £46.5k for his services, a severe hit on the club’s finances.

The system will also see top clubs exempt from the rule that they cannot sign players who live more than 90 minutes away from their stadium which now means they can pick and choose the finest young talent from anywhere in the country.

Speaking before the vote, Peterborough United director Barry Fry told the BBC that the new system could see an end to a number of Football League club’s academies: “What frightens me is that a lot of clubs will pull out of having a youth system altogether. Lower league clubs will look at how much it costs to run their academy or school of excellence and think that, if the Premier League can nick their best players for a low price, what is the point of investing in it?

“The Premier League wants everything and they want it for nothing. Football League clubs will moan about this at the meeting but vote for it because they have no choice.”

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