Category One and Two Academies to play on despite lockdown

ALL football in Category One and Two Academies will continue during lockdown, despite the government previously saying that only 'elite' sport, involving players aged 16 and over, would carry on.

Clubs were informed of the decision yesterday evening following lengthy discussions between the Premier League and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), TGG understands.

Up to now, the government has said that only 'elite' sport could continue during the four-week lockdown to December 2nd, defining ‘elite’ as involving athletes aged 16 and over.

However, there has been an acceptance that the level of the protocols, staffing and facilities at Category One and Two Academies means they can be classed as elite. As such, they will be allowed to continue provision for all ages, from the Foundation Phase (Under-9s to 11s) upwards.

In contrast, Category Three and Four Academies will only be able to operate teams from 16 upwards, meaning age groups below that will have their training and games programmes suspended.

Girls at Women's Super League and Championship teams have also been forced to stop playing football for the four-week lockdown, while football at pre-Academy, Development Centre and grassroots level will stop for boys and girls.

At the start of May, the Premier League announced that all U18 and U23 competitions for 2019/20 had been curtailed with immediate effect because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Academies were empty until August, when they returned with strict protocols in place. The 2020/21 youth competitions got underway again in September, with eight rounds played in Premier League 2 so far.

Youth competitions in 2019/20 were decided on a points-per-game basis, with the titles handed out in August.

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