Belfast Telegraph

Premier League development boss behind EPPP system leaves post by mutual consent

Youth football expert Ged Roddy is leaving the Premier League after a review decided to close his post of director of football development.

In a statement, the Premier League said the decision was "mutually agreed" as his role " will no longer be required in the medium to long term".

Premier League staff and the 20 clubs were told the news on Monday.

Thanking him for his work and wishing his continued success, the Premier League statement explained Roddy did not want a "prolonged departure" and will therefore leave in the next few weeks.

"There is nothing about this decision that can in any way detract or diminish from his outstanding achievements, having completely transformed youth development and coaching provision within English professional football since his arrival eight years ago," the league said.

"Most recently Ged's role in securing the employment of heads of coaching across the majority of professional clubs and developing a new integrated coaching strategy with our partners at the (English Football League, Football Association, League Managers Association and Professional Footballers' Association) leaves the game ideally positioned to produce an ever increasing number of better home-grown players and coaches."

The former head of sport at Bath University joined the Premier League in 2009 and oversaw the overhaul of the academy system with the creation of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) in 2012.

Intended to create more and better home-grown players, the EPPP introduced a four-tier system for academies - ranging from category one at the top end to category four at the bottom - based on the quality of their coaching and facilities.

But it also scrapped the "catchment area" rule, enabling category one academies to sign talented youngsters from other academies even if they did live more than 90 minutes away, and it also set fixed tariffs for the compensation the club should pay for that player.

While this has undoubtedly driven up standards at the best-resourced academies it has led many further down football's pecking order to question the value of their attempts to develop youngsters.

Last year, Brentford closed its previously successful academy saying it no longer made financial sense, and last month Huddersfield announced it was downgrading its academy from category two status to category four, as it could no longer compete for the best youngsters with its richer neighbours.

Roddy is understood to have recognised the flaws in the EPPP system and has been pushing to restrict transfers between category one clubs.

Recently, both Liverpool and Manchester City have been fined and banned from signing academy players for a period of time after they were found to have 'tapped up' youngsters at rival clubs.

The Premier League and most leading clubs, however, remain committed to the system and it must be noted the England's golden summer of age-group football featured a generation of players who have benefited from the greater focus on high-quality coaching and improved facilities.

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