Belfast Telegraph

Newcastle warn over poaching of young stars

By Martin Hardy

English clubs have been given until 31 March to apply for Category One academy status that will entirely alter the availability of young players they can sign.

At present clubs are restricted through geography. But the Premier League is set to introduce a new categorisation, with four different levels, and any club that achieves level one status will have the potential to sign youngsters from all over the country.

"From the end of March the Premier League will audit every Premier League club and they will look at that audit and tell each club what category status they have," said Joe Joyce, Newcastle United's academy manager.

"At the moment the academy system allows you to recruit players under the age of 12 in a 60-minute radius and players of 12-16 in a 90-minute radius.

"Category one status will open up our recruitment market nationally which means as long as you can prove as a club that we can provide an appropriate educational programme and appropriate technical programme with guardianship, welfare and appropriate accommodation, we can take a player from anywhere in England."

Joyce said Newcastle would have to make sure "we have our local area tied up". He warned that although a new compensation system is to be put in place, the amounts may not deter bigger clubs from poaching rising stars.

"Previously if a young player moved to another club and a fee couldn't be agreed, it went to a tribunal. For any player who has been with an academy between the ages of nine and 11, the compensation figure is £3,000 per year. From 12 to 16, at Category One academy level, the figure will be £40,000 per year. It does mean that you could lose your best player, who you had from being a nine-year-old, for £209,000 at age 16."

Belfast Telegraph


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