Youth and foundation phase programmes halted due to lockdown

ACADEMY matches and training for the Under-15s downwards will stop until February 1st at the earliest because of the latest national lockdown.

However, all activity will continue in the Professional Development Phase (U17s to U23s) and there are plans to introduce weekly Covid testing for players and key staff in these age groups.

The Premier League and EFL emailed all Academy Managers to notify them of the changes this morning. Chairmen and chief executives are due to get a summary of that information later today as well.

Clubs are being encouraged to “continue with an online programme of development and support” for players in the U9 to U15s.

The games programme for the U16s will stop, although clubs will be permitted to continue training for this age group - and U16s will be allowed to play up in the U18s and U23s “if their club deem it to be appropriate for their development.”

Trials will also be permitted in the U16 to U23 age group.

Clubs had been anticipating this news, after being alerted to the probability of changes by the leagues earlier this week - and Academy Managers had been consulted throughout the process.

The EFL has also reiterated that new Covid protocols issued on December 31st - which included the closure of indoor facilities at clubs, the use of gyms only if well-ventilated, and the use of separate or multiple vehicles for fixtures - must be adhered to.

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