The EFL has announced a commitment to invest an additional £3.5million into youth development over the next two seasons.
Funds made available through the 1% Youth Development Levy will see EFL Clubs collectively receive an additional £1.75million in 2017/18 and the same again in 2018/19 following approval at the 2017 Summer Conference.
The investment will provide support across a number of key areas including medical screening, Club scholarship schemes and enhanced training programmes as well as a further incentive to give English and Welsh youngster opportunities in first teams.
The new commitment will provide:
+ £720,000 (£10,000 per Club) towards additional costs associated with operating scholarship schemes.
+ A further £250,000 to EFL Futures taking the available fund to £1 million per season.
+ An additional £150,000 to increase heart screening of 14 year-olds registered at EFL Academies.
+ £100,000 to put scholars on a fast-track refereeing course to help keep talent in the game.
+ £200,000 to allow League Football Education (LFE) to deliver an enhanced life skills programme to scholars with a focus on gaming, financial management, well-being and media training.
+ A further £288,000 towards the costs of staff training at Clubs or taking players away for international experience.
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, welcomed the announcement.
He said: “I am delighted we have been able to use the increased support funding for all EFL Clubs. I have spoken frequently about the importance of supporting Clubs with their development of young players and this enhanced commitment is further evidence of the emphasis the EFL continues to place on supporting such an important area for the game.
“We have to reward Clubs who take the risk in giving young home grown players the chance to play competitive first team football and the additional funds announced today will help scholars fulfil their footballing potential, while also ensuring they are both mentally and physically healthy and better prepared for life in or out of the game.”