The youth football development system in England received a highly controversial shake up in 2012 with the introduction of the EPPP and with it the ranking of clubs into football academy categories.
EPPP stands for Elite Player Performance Plan and is a Premier League led strategy to improve the quality and quantity of home grown players. The plan was created with the individual player in mind with input from the Premier League, the Football League, the Football Association and various football clubs.
Check out the football academies information section for the latest academy articles.
How do Football Academy Categories Work?
- Productivity rates
- Training facilities
- Welfare Provisions
Category One Football Academies
Football Academy Category One: Premier League 2 (U23’s)
From the start of the 2016/17 season all Category 1 Academies will now play in the Premier League 2 and no longer the U21 Premier League (2012-16).
Players under the age of 23 are permitted to play in the Premier League 2.
This change will hope to bring about a greater focus on intensity, technicality and physicality allowing young players to get a more realistic experience of first team football. The league is made up of 15 Premier League teams and 9 Championship teams.
Premier League 2 comprises of two leagues Division One and Division Two, with 12 teams in each league and promotion and relegation at the end of each season. Category one academies are also allowed to compete in the Premier League International Cup, EFL Trophy and the Premier League Cup.
Premier League 2 Rules:
- Each team plays other teams in their division twice (home and away)
- The team who finish first in division one will be crowned champions
- The two teams who finish bottom of Division one will be relegated to Division two
- The winners of Division 2 will gain promotion automatically to Division 1
- 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th placed teams in Division 2 will go into a playoff for the one remaining promotion spot.
- Manchester United – 2015/16
- Manchester United – 2014/15
- Chelsea – 2013/14
- Manchester United – 2012/13
Category One Academies – U18 Premier League Rules:
- Each team will play every other team in their region twice (home and away)
- Towards the end of the season the leagues are then split into 3 groups and new leagues are formed
- Positions 1-4 from each region make up final stage group 1
- Position 5-8 from each region make up final stage group 2
- Position 9 -12 from each region make up final stage group 3
Previous U18 Premier League Winners:
- Manchester City – 2015/16
- Middlesbrough – 2014/15
- Everton – 2013/14
- Fulham – 2012/13
Category One Academy ListThe following clubs have the elite Category One status under the Premier League’s Elite Players Performance Plan (EPPP).
- Manchester United FC Academy
- Middlesbrough FC Academy
- Norwich City FC Academy
- Reading FC Academy
- Southampton FC Academy
- Stoke City FC Academy
- Sunderland Athletic FC Academy
- Swansea City AFC Academy
- Tottenham Hotspurs FC Academy
- West Bromwich Albion FC Academy
- West Ham United Academy
- Wolverhampton Wanderers FC Academy
Football Academy Categories: Category Two Academies (U23)
- Clubs will play each team in their region home and away
- The top two teams in each region will enter a playoff to compete for the PDL title.
- Huddersfield Town 2015/16
Category Two Academies: U18 Professional Development LeagueCategory two academies also battle is out in the U18 PDL. This also consists of two regional leagues (North and South) before finishing with a play-off deciding the title.
U18 Professional Development League Rules:
- Each team players the other teams in their region twice (home and away)
- The top two teams from each region face each other in a play off situation to decide the final positions.
Previous U18 Professional Development Lead National Champions:
- Charlton Athletic – 2015/16