EFL Futures will help clubs to develop more young players within the EFL and provide direct financial rewards to clubs who regularly promote home grown players from their academies into the first team.
A sum of £750,000 per season is being made available for the next three years to reward those Clubs who provide starting opportunities in Sky Bet League fixtures for home grown players under the age of 21 and are qualified for England (or Wales for Cardiff and Newport).
The announcement is part of the EFL’s multi-faceted strategy that was created following the release of former FA Chairman Greg Dyke’s England commission report in May 2014, which focused on the need to produce more and better home grown the players.
The EFL already plays a big part in player development, with 14 of the Euro 2016 England squad at last summer’s tournament in France having once been registered at EFL academies. However, this latest initiative is evidence of the ongoing work that is taking place to increase the opportunities available for young, up and coming players.
The introduction of the format changes and the introduction of Category 1 teams in the newly named Checkatrade Trophy kick started the EFL’s work in this area earlier this season and following on from today’s financial injection will be a focus on increasing the number of club grown developed players.
Shaun Harvey, CEO of EFL said: “The EFL has, quite rightly, been deeply engaged in playing our part in resolving some of the key issues that were identified in the England commission report. Our challenge was ensuring we looked to address these issues in a way that worked for the EFL and our clubs.
“We are acknowledging the fact that a high performing England national team is good for the game as a whole in this country and we are therefore committed to doing everything we can to help the national team develop. I hope today’s announcement is further evidence of the EFL taking the initiative and trying to help find their part of the solution to what is a collective problem.
“To date, our highest profile initiative is the introduction of Category 1 teams in the Checkatrade Trophy and despite some of the negative attention that has almost appeared to engulf the competition, it has provided an opportunity for over 200 under-21 players to be involved in competitive football as well as providing the financial incentive the competition required for League One and Two clubs. These opportunities didn’t exist previously.
“Clearly, there is still plenty of work to be done in this area but the provision of these additional funds through EFL Futures ensures we are on track with our commitment to make a significant, valuable and lasting contribution to the future fortune of the England national team.”