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Football League clubs nuture youth of tomorrow

Mon 25th Jul 2011 | Money & Finance

Football League clubs have extended their commitment to the next generation of young playing talent by increasing their financial investment in Youth Development and by raising the number of first team opportunities for players developed in the domestic system.

At an EGM at Leicester City's King Power Stadium, clubs approved the introduction of a new 1% levy on all transfer spending by Football League clubs. The money raised, which will be approximately £600,000 per season, will be invested in Youth Development programmes at clubs throughout The Football League.

Clubs also voted to increase the minimum number of 'home grown' players that must be named in matchday squads from 4 to 6. This increase becomes even more significant following the decision by clubs to reduce the number of substitutes that can be named from 7 to 5 players. Home grown players are defined as those that have been registered, domestically, for a minimum of three seasons prior to their 21st birthday.

The Football League's new Head of Youth Development, David Wetherall said: "Youth Development at Football League clubs is one of the games' success stories, not only in terms of the number of players coming through, but also because our clubs are actually giving these players the chance to show their talent at first team level.

"Last season alone, 250 young players made their league debut and more than 900 players under the age of 21 appeared in first team football.

"These initiatives will further strengthen the outstanding work being done by Youth Development staff at clubs throughout The Football League and help even more young players make the step-up into first team football."

Football League Youth Development is the world's largest centrally co-ordinated young player development programme with more than 8,500 young players between the ages of 8 and 18 on the books of clubs.

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