Brown: Why is Academy performance data 'a big secret'?
Written by Simon Austin — December 6, 2018
MK DONS Head of Coaching Steve Brown, one of the original auditors under the EPPP system, has questioned why Academy performance data is not put in the public domain by the Premier League and EFL.
For the last two years, Mark Crane has researched productivity for all Academies ranked Category 1 to 3 in England, which has been published by TGG. He was moved to carry out the work after growing frustrated at the lack of publicly-available information about Academy productivity and performance.
“Very few useful pieces of data are publicly available to allow an objective assessment,” he said. “Indeed, the Football Association and football leagues do not even publish a list of Academies in all four categories operated by the English leagues.”
Brown, who worked for Academy auditors Double Pass from February 2012 to October 2014, agrees.
“In Germany, all the reports and best practice gets shared,” he told TGG. “This means that what clubs are doing and how they’re doing it with their Academies is in the public domain.
“If people want detailed information on what best practice is, they can go and find it. Unfortunately, in this country it seems like that Academy information is a big secret.
“Why wouldn’t the EFL and Premier League publish the data? I don’t know. If you want to choose a school for your child, you look at the Ofsted reports and the rankings.
“Football clubs are places of education too. The audited reports should be online, so anyone can read them. That leads to accountability and transparency, it allows parents and players to make informed decisions.”
Fleetwood chief executive Steve Curwood told TGG: “The Academy data we get from the EFL is very complicated, to the extent that neither I nor anyone else here fully understands it.
“We are trying to work out which players are included in their criteria, so we can act on this and make our Academy more productive.
“We are seeking to get full clarity on this to aid our decision making. Productivity doesn’t provide the full picture about an Academy’s performance, but you are at least providing an important part of the jigsaw with this research.”
An EFL spokesman said: “Academies within the EFL are some of the most effective and productive in world football as evidenced by the fact that 46% of young players leaving apprenticeships at EFL Clubs secure professional contracts year-on-year.
“However, it is clear that Academies operating at different levels of the football pyramid will inevitably have different measures of success, and therefore ranking them by any single methodology fails to acknowledge the complexities of the youth development system that operates across football with each Academy having its own history, culture and ambitions for the club it represents.”
A Premier League spokesman added: “High standards of education and welfare are an essential element of club Academies and key parts of this work are audited by Ofsted, with an ‘Outstanding’ rating awarded last year.
“Informing parents is hugely important and the Premier League emails parents of all Academy players when they register with a club to welcome them and provides a copy of the Parents Charter.
“This outlines the experience academy players can expect, and provides points of contact should there be any questions or concerns. This is a publicly available document: Premier League Parents Charter.
“The information clubs provide as part of their academy audit is confidential. We will continue working with our clubs to consider further ways we can inform parents whose children are in the Academy system.”