Date: 20th October 2011 at 7:31pm
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Football League clubs have voted in favour of the ‘Elite Player Performance Plan’ (EPPP) in a meeting at the Bescot Stadium today.

The EPPP will see a reform of the current academy system and subsequently how clubs are compensated when their academy players are snapped up by other clubs.

In essence the new system makes it even easier for the biggest clubs in the country to cherry-pick smaller club’s best young talents.

Under the new rules clubs attempting to sign a player from a club’s academy will not need to agree a fee. Instead the deal will go straight through with compensation determined on how long the player has been at his present club.

Academy manager Nick Cox spoke to the Watford Observer about the controversial plans:

“We have some concerns over our more talented players being cherry-picked because we are in such a competitive area of the country with regards to our local rivals.

“But I think it is important to recognise that we were prepared for this to happen and we have already started to implement strategies to ensure that the best talent we have recruited will remain at Watford.”

This will see the amount clubs are compensated by dramatically reduced. For example, The Guardian claim that in the case of Luke Garbutt, who left Leeds for Everton in a 600k deal, Leeds would now only receive 131k.

One of the other main changes will see clubs prevented from signing a player to their academy who lives further than 90 minutes from the club.

Finally the current two-tier academy system will be increased to incorporate four tiers. At the moment clubs either have a ‘centre of excellence’ or an ‘academy’. Under the new system the tiers range from ‘super academies’ to clubs which will only be able to sign players who have been released at 16.

Watford’s own Harefield Academy is the model from which the Premier League are basing the blueprint for the clubs to replicate. Watford are however as yet unsure what will have to be done in order to meet the re-classification levels.

In what looks like the ONLY positive, clubs will be given increased time to train academy players. Currently players are only allowed and hour and a half of training a day, this amount is set to be increased.

Even the introduction of longer training hours for academy players looks like a pretty poor peace-offering compared to what Football League clubs will be giving up.