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Premier League Pushing Player Development

27/07/22

- Grant Whittington

During a Premier League clubs shareholders meeting in London earlier this week, plans were tabled that would bring about long-awaited changes to the controversial so-called “parachute” payments system.

The aim is for championship sides to develop young British loan talent, which will form part of a financial restructure within the English game.

The hope is that the changes to the payment system will allow a greater distribution of funds at the lower end of the pyramid, with a specific focus on greater development at League One and League Two levels.

Player Development At Risk

Due to several challenges, including Brexit’s impact on loan opportunities, clubs are worried about a lack of competitiveness at under-23 level.

Lower leagues are crucial for player development, but these have been suffering due to a lack of funding and infrastructure. Premier League clubs are now in dire need of better opportunities and resources for developing young talent.

Some shareholders, however, have raised concerns about the higher physical demands of lower-league footie. They’ve expressed ongoing concerns about these demands and the suitability of the situation for the development of Premier League skills. The main issue is the fact that most younger players have not yet developed to the full physically.

Many believe the best workaround to be an obligation on championship sides to include a certain number of under-23 players in their premium teams.

FA On Board With Changes

The proposed changes come at a time during which the Football Association is pressing hard to strengthen the development pathways available to future England internationals. The association is now seeking new and inventive ways to find solutions to the challenges raised by fans during a review of the governance of the sport.

While government has committed to publishing a white paper containing the terms for appointing an independent regulator for English football, many feel this move to be a case of too little, too late, and especially so now the Conservative party is in search of a new leader.

But the Premier League appears confident that all the necessary pieces are now in place to drive a higher redistribution rate from the top clubs down the lower leagues. The expectation is for an overall increase in funding, and for championship clubs to receive funding based on their position within the league.

While no decision has been taken at club-level regarding the voluntary removal of gambling sponsors from their shirts, this remains a future threat for funding.

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