Vale rise to the Challenge of the EPPP
The implementation of the Elite Player Performance Plan in October 2011 posed a challenge for football clubs in the Premier League and throughout the Football League, but Port Vale have risen to the challenge and the youth set-up at the club has managed to attain Category 3 Academy status.
All clubs were subjected to a strict independent audit from the Belgium organization, DoublePass, where ten different key performance indicators were considered for grading, including Coaching, Education and Training facilities.
Subsequently, a hierarchical system exists with academies having to achieve certain criteria points under these factors combined with a commitment to spending a certain amount of money to be given a category status from 1 to 4. This has seen alteration in the internal structure, with a change from a Centre of Excellence to an Academy in football clubs.
The mandatory EPPP requirements are tough and proved to be a huge challenge for Academy Manager Sevvy Aslam to raise standards by incorporating new policies and procedures and management for all areas of Youth Academy football ages ranging from u7's to u18's.
This process has seen many clubs fail with the future of their academies in doubt through the subsequent funding cuts - in fact many have closed altogether.
Not only did the Port Vale Academy pass, they excelled as a category 3 Academy with no concerns and a minimal number of amendments.
This successful triumph was communicated to Vale Chairman Norman Smurthwaite and Academy manager Sevvy Aslam at the Premier League Offices in London, where a final written report will be given to the club by The Professional Games Board, when all the minor details are completed.
This outstanding achievement has been accomplished against numerous barriers - the biggest being that of administration. It required a monumental effort from Sevvy Aslam his academy staff and members.
Achieving Academy 3 status consequently results in the club receiving AcademyLicenceand funding for the next three years, providing stability and reinvigorating staff to push on further, ultimately enhancing the opportunity for local grassroots players into academy players and eventually representing Port Vale's first team.
many years in the system. U16s with each of them having spent have all progressed from the Academy They seasons youth team (eight from Stoke-on-Trent, one from Shrewsbury) Most impressive of all, whilst the hard work behind the scenes continued for the EPPP process, the academy still managed to produce nine local scholars for the 2014/15
the club at their audit meeting. This has been a trend in recent years with four scholars last season and seven the season before, making the progress from the U16s an exemplary achievement which was positively highlighted and communicated by the Belgium auditors to
the Academy staff. The auditors also eluded to the retention of players and progression was a result of a positive and friendly environment setting for players and families and a unique caring approach from
Whilst the EPPP has hindered many clubs, it has reinforced and emphasised the outstanding work that has been completed over the years by Port Vale Academy.