|WANDERERS CLOSE COE
(Friday 8th June 2012)
Wanderers have closed their 'Center of Excellence' with immediate effect. A joint statement from Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and Wycombe Wanderers Trust on Friday 8th June 2012 revealed the news and cited the increased demands of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) where Clubs could be limited to recieving a maximum of £70,000 in transfer fees for a player they had developed, as the main reason behind the decision.
The Centre of Excellence develops players aged from U7 through to U16, with the aim to progress to play for the Club's U18 Youth Team on three year scholarship programmes. It's understood that the COE employed 8 full time and 23 part-time staff. Wycombe Wanderers' Centre of Excellence technical development officer Dave George announced his retirment a week before the decision was revealed. George oversaw the recruitment and development of under 7s to under 12s.
The COE also worked closely with the Wanderers Elite Advanced Development Centres based at Hungerford and Aylesbury. They have stated they are now looking to link with another professional club with a COE.
The full statement read:
Wycombe Wanderers and Wycombe Wanderers Trust have reluctantly taken the joint decision to close the club's Centre of Excellence with immediate effect.
Due to the club’s financial limitations, together with the increased demands of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) for the forthcoming season, the club and the Trust – who are finalising a deal to take over the club – feel it will no longer be able to sustain youth development at any age level going forward.
Whilst the current Centre of Excellence structure requires significant backing to operate each year, the new EPPP rules would demand increased investment to meet new criteria.
The ruling will also see the introduction of a new policy for transfer fees for players under the age of 18. If a fee cannot be agreed between two clubs, a limit of around £70,000 will be the amount that Football League clubs will be able to receive for a player which it has spent time, effort and financial resources in developing. With this rule in place, the club expects that more and more fees will not be agreed and be settled under this new requirement.
Wanderers were opposed to the EPPP from the outset, voting against the proposal at a meeting alongside fellow Football League clubs in October. However, the ruling was passed and the club believes it is certain to change the way in which Football League clubs are able to operate at youth level.
The long-term stability of the club is the number one priority and all resources are going towards ensuring the club is financially secure. Both parties understand this is extremely disappointing news, but it was unavoidable in ensuring the club becomes sustainable.
The club will do all in its power to assist in helping players find new teams, whilst they also reserve the opportunity to offer professional contracts to selected scholars.
Wanderers have established a reputation for having one of the best youth departments in the Football League, having developed and handed professional debuts to the likes of Roger Johnson, Matt Phillips, Jordon Ibe and Kadeem Harris, who are now at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackpool, Liverpool and Cardiff City respectively.
In the current squad, Matt McClure, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Anthony Stewart, Josh Scowen and Charles Dunne have also all come through the ranks at Adams Park and made their first-team debuts in the last two years.
The club would like to express their sincere gratitude to the staff, who will now be leaving as a consequence of the closure of the department, in helping to build a well-respected Centre of Excellence and wish them every success for the future.
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