Burnley's demotion to Category Two Academy status now confirmed

Burnley were promoted to Category One Academy status in April

Burnley were promoted to Category One Academy status in April

BURNLEY’S demotion to Category Two Academy status has now been confirmed.

The Academy fixtures have been released to clubs, under embargo, and Burnley do not feature among the Category One teams. Insiders have confirmed the demotion to TGG.

As we reported last month, the Professional Game Board had ratified the decision of the Professional Game Academy Audit Company to withdraw the club’s Category One licence.

This had been issued on a provisional two-year basis in July 2020, marking an impressive rise from Category Three to One status within the space of just three years.

The Clarets subsequently submitted a detailed ‘letter of mitigation’, along with supporting documents, to the PGB, arguing that failings identified by auditors at the start of this year had been down to Covid. However, they have failed to overturn the decision.

When Burnley were promoted to Category One in 2020, former Chief Executive Neil Hart described it as a “tremendous accolade” and ex-Academy Manager Jon Pepper said the new status would "help us compete for the best players and retain the best players."

ALK Capital, who completed a leveraged buy-out of the club in December 2020, have also consistently emphasised the importance of the youth set-up to their vision for Burnley.

Pepper, who left the club after five years in June 2021, had explained the importance of being Category One.

“I think this further raising of the bar will have a really positive impact and bridge the gap between Academy football and senior football," he said.

“We’re hoping the games’ programme is enhanced, in terms of what we’ve been used to at Category Two, and in terms of recruitment it will have obvious benefits. Players are attracted to Category One environments.

“It will help us compete for the best players and retain the best players. The concept is ‘best with best’, so it will be a challenge for us on the playing side. At the older end, the 18s and 23s, we will be playing some quality opposition."

Pepper’s replacement as Academy Manager was Paul Jenkins, who had previously been ALK’s football advisor. He stepped up to assist Mike Jackson with the first team following the sacking of Sean Dyche in April.

So the latest round of Academy audits/ appeals are now concluded. Here are the headlines ahead of the

  • Birmingham, Burnley and Reading demoted from Category One to Two
  • Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and West Brom granted provisional one-year Category One licences
  • Peterborough granted Category Two licence
  • Stockport County promoted to Category Three

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