The EFL has today made a long-term commitment to youth development in football according to EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey.Speaking at the formal launch of EFL Futures, Harvey outlined how the new £2.25million initiative will help to financially reward EFL clubs who introduce young English players into their starting line-ups.
He also explained how the initiative isn’t just about money, but is also a recognition from the wider game that more needs to be done to place a greater emphasis on the importance of youth development.
He was joined on stage by recently appointed Charlton Athletic manager Karl Robinson, Walsall Chief Executive Stefan Gamble, Gillingham Academy Manager Bryan Bull and young footballers John Swift and Tom Lapslie.
The panel discussed the value in recognising he challenges young footballers face in making the transition from Academy graduate to first team player but were also unanimous in their support for this new initiative.
Harvey explained why EFL Futures can only be seen as a step in the right direction.
“EFL Futures is a long term project. It is an initiative that recognises the work going on at our clubs academies.
“EFL Futures provides no down sides for our clubs. There is a financial reward for playing young English footballers but the message is not just a financial one, it is a recognition of the fantastic work that is going on at our clubs academies.
“The EFL can distribute money directly back to our clubs that is around a specific initiative. It is one part of the work the EFL do with clubs and EFL futures will benefit them, the players and the game as a whole.
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“EFL Futures may encourage one or two clubs to give a young player an opportunity in the first team. If this happens and that player goes on to be a success, then it has worked.
“There are lots of examples already and this can’t just be measured on players that go on to represent the national team. The EFL are interested in the number of young players that have been developed by our clubs academies and break into the first team.
“It is great to be associated with players that have gone to play for the national team but for our clubs, it is a lot more local than that.”