Nigel Higgs on a re-audit for the club
The AFC Wimbledon Academy recently received its EPPP audit outcome and it was not the result that we wanted.
explains below why the Academy has requested a re-audit on modified criteria.Nigel HiggsYouth and Community Director
We recently received our Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) audit result. This is the process that determines the club’s eligibility to run an Academy and at what level we can operate. It is a system governed by the Professional Game Board (PGB) of the FA. EPPP, a new youth development scheme based on a four-tier academy system, is largely driven by the Premier League control of youth development funding.
Our Academy is currently operating as Category 3, with teams from Under-9 up to Under-21. The outcome of the audit is a recommendation that we operate at Category 4, the lowest level, which would mean running teams just from Under-18 to Under-21, with no funding for the younger age groups. This is a devastating result and one which we are determined to reverse.
One of the main reasons we have failed to reach the required audit score is because of the Productivity criterion, which is based on the number of players developed by an academy who are currently playing in the English Premier League or the Football League. As a very new club within the academy system, it is impossible for us to score any points in this area. Following representations by the Football League to the PGB on behalf of clubs such as ourselves, the audit process has been revised and we now have an opportunity for a re-audit. Our required score will be adjusted and we will no longer be judged on our Productivity.
We accept that there are other areas where we need to improve, and we will be concentrating on putting those right before a re-audit. Youth development is a key strategic area for AFC Wimbledon, and a lot of hard work and investment has been put in to get us this far. With so much at stake there could be no greater motivation to finish the job, and we are very confident that we can achieve the required result. Discussions within the club have backed up this view, and the whole club is behind the decision to go ahead with a re-audit at the end of this season.
This is all very recent news, and the Academy team are fully focused on the work needed to pass a re-audit. We will update you on progress and news in the coming weeks.