Tranmere scrap teams below 16s because of 'impossible' EPPP
Written by Simon Austin — March 10, 2018
TRANMERE ROVERS have scrapped all teams and free coaching for players under the age of 16 because they have found it “impossible” to operate outside of the EPPP system.
The club continued to receive Premier League funding for their Academy for two years after being relegated from the Football League in 2015, but that has now ceased. Being outside EPPP also mean Tranmere do not receive compensation when under-16s are signed by other clubs - which Tranmere say has happened six times over the last 12 months.
Tranmere said they would now “focus on the development of elite players from age 16 through a development squad”.
As TGG reported yesterday, the club will also stop running all futsal teams other than the men’s seniors. They have had the biggest futsal department of any club in the country, with 140 registered players.
A statement from the club read: “Last summer, despite being one of the best-performing Category 3 Academies in the country, we lost our EPPP Category 3 status as a result of the first team being outside the EFL.
“This meant we lost registration rights for players aged 16 and under, and as a consequence young players who may have benefitted from our Academy’s coaching for many years, could leave without notice and without the Club receiving any compensation.
“Six of our Academy’s most talented players have left during the last 12 months and signed for other clubs in the North West. Had the club still been within the EPPP system, and despite the reduced compensation inherent in the system, it would still have received more than £200,000 in compensation for those players.
“As a consequence of being outside the EPPP system, we received nothing.”
Tranmere added that running its Academy had cost more than £300,000 per season, when £500,000 of central funding had gone over the last two years. The club also launched an attack on EPPP as a whole, saying it favoured the richest clubs but made it "impossible" for teams lower down the pyramid to operate Academies.
“Prior to the introduction of the EPPP system, the income from player sales offset some or all of the cost, and Tranmere had some notable successes in developing and selling players,” the club said.
“Following the introduction of EPPP, the compensation arrangements on transfers has shifted the financial risk of player development to those clubs lower down the football pyramid who can least afford it.
“This was offset to some degree by central funding for academies however, a number of clubs felt it was no longer economically viable to run academies within the EPPP system, and closed them down.
“Others, including in 2017, a Premier League club (Huddersfield) and a Championship club (Brentford), have felt it necessary to restructure their Academies along the lines we are now doing and we expect more to follow.
“Apart from the impact of the less favourable compensation scheme, the richest clubs have the financial resources to cherry pick the best talent around the country cheaply and stockpile them in the hope that one or two make it all the way to their first team.
“It is very difficult for Academies outside the Premier League clubs (and even for some smaller Premier League clubs) to thrive in the EPPP environment. Outside it, it is impossible."
EPPP funding for teams relegated from the Football League:
- In the FIRST year after relegation into the Conference, the PL continues to fund a club’s youth Academy at the same level as they previously received in the EFL for whatever Category their Academy was (in Tranmere’s case this was £270,000 in their first season after relegation)
- In the SECOND season after relegation to the Conference, the PL pays the club 50% the Category grant they would have received had they been in the EFL that season (in Tranmere’s case this was £170,000 in their second season after relegation).
- For seasons AFTER that, should the club have not been promoted back into the EFL, the PL make separate Youth Development grants to all Conference clubs.