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Youth Teams Threat!

By: Jon Moore
Date: 15/04/2004

THE discussion about the future of the youth team programmes at clubs being slashed due to the FA cancelling their financial support is not quite correct. Some clubs are dispensing with their youth teams for other reasons.

Jon Moore of OxVox & U's Youth explains the funding and what is going on.

A fund exists which is made up of contributions from the Govt/The Lottery/Sport England, The FA, the PFA, and one or two others. Grants of up to £138k per season can be paid to a club to run its youth set-up, as the long as the club commits to put in a certain amount itself (at OUFC this is £78k, I think)(at Grimsby around £138k)

Both sums, plus anything else raised, go into a separate trust fund run by a group of independent trustees, whose job is to ensure that all monies go towards youth rather than be swallowed up in the larger club balance sheet.

The talk is about FA funding ceasing, but that is not the case across the board - the scheme continues and despite the Govt and Lottery making noises about reducing their level of input in future the rest remains in place. The only way your club will not receive any more money is if it has transgressed some aspect of the scheme (eg compromised the Trust) or is not willing to put in the amount it has to under the matching scheme.

Many youth systems around the country have gone under already as it is a sad fact that a lot of clubs are looking at the balance sheet and deciding it makes better business sense to scrap their own youth systems and spend the money on bringing in experienced players on free transfers now that there are so many out there out of work. Better one senior pro now than perhaps two or three youth players. This is another example of the fabric of the game at roots level being eaten away, but no point in bleating about that any more - just face the reality and get on with it!

Jon Moore - Oxford United


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