EPFL promotes youth development as a key strategy factor for the sustainability of Professional Football
The EPFL saw great success with the 2nd edition of the EPFL International Workshop on Youth Development. Co-organised with the The Premier League and the Football League and hosted on the premises of Everton Football Club’s Finch Farm Training Complex, the event gathered major experts from all over Europe to discuss and promote the development and implementation of best practices on recruiting, training, education and protection of young players.
The Workshop, chaired by Sir David Richards and Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Chairman and CEO of the EPFL respectively, represented the perfect platform for the ongoing learning process and knowledge sharing among leagues and clubs promoted by the EPFL Association. This edition focused on several issues of extreme significance for the audience such as the innovative certification of clubs’youth academies and the existing regulatory frameworks aimed at setting measures to properly protect training clubs in countries like Poland, France and Scotland. The discussion includes the challenges posed by the establishment of training compensation mechanisms at national level in order to encourage more investment into youth football by clubs.
Furthermore, the meeting provided a suitable overview of clubs’activities and projects in the areas of young players’s couting, training and education thanks to the active contribution of AC Milan and Juventus FC from Lega Serie A (Italy) and Le Mans FC from LFP (France). During the meeting, there was also the possibility to be educated about the project run by the German Bundesliga regarding the detrimental impact of match fixing in the future career of young players. To invest in education is fundamental for preserving the integrity of the game and assist youngers when facing this type of problems.
Last but not least, the audience had also the opportunity to analyze effective methods to promote youngsters to first squads profiting from the presence of experts in charge of well-known best practices applied in England (Everton FC and Watford FC) and Italy (Lega Pro).
“The EPFL and our member Leagues believe that training and education of young players is essential to ensure football’s long term interest and future development. This is a key factor to reinforce clubs’ local identity, social function and financial sustainability. That’s why we have taken the initiative to hold this international workshop, whose success was widely acknowledged by all participants”, explained EPFL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros.
The EPFL event counted with the participation of Everton Chief Executive Robert Elstone who was delighted to be able to host an event of such magnitude at the Club’s state of the art training complex: “We’ve got representatives from all over Europe, a cast list of famous names, famous leagues and famous clubs all organised by the EPFL, the Premier League and the Football League. It’s a real gathering of the great and good. It’s a tremendous pat on the back for Everton, for Finch Farm – a real feather in our cap to be able to host such a big event”.
On the occasion, AC Milan former player and Director of Youth Filippo Galli stated: “I want to thank the EPFL for the opportunity to participate in the 2nd Edition of its workshop on Youth Development. It has been a very interesting experience. I think that it is really important to have periodically an exchange of knowledge and understanding between the youth departments of clubs and leagues as it is helpful for the development of young talented football players in general. Once again, thank you to the organizers!”
Former Juventus FC international and Vice Director of Youth Gianluca Pessotto added: “Thanks to the EPFL for the invitation. This workshop gave us the opportunity to have feedback about the programs, structures and regulatory frameworks of the different European leagues concerning youth development. Juventus FC believes in its Youth division and considers it a big sport, social and business resource. We invite the EPFL to repeat these kinds of meetings in order to find a common point of view concerning the technical development of a young player”
Michael Tattersall, Deputy Operations Director of the Football League reflected on the current situation of European youth football and the role to be undertaken by the League: “Leagues are wishing to promote youth development by directing resources towards this aspect of the industry and many Leagues are invited in certifying, supporting and financing national programmes. There is an increased interest in youth development at professional clubs due to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play and the compelling business case for young players over older established professionals. Therefore, clubs are taking different approaches to youth development with the common aim of developing the most talented players at their disposal into candidates for the first team”
Concluding the workshop, Mike Foster, Director of Football of the Premier League said: “The mixture of Club and League representatives who attended the workshop from across Europe made for an interesting and valuable exchange of ideas, supplemented by the formal presentations explaining how the various issues affecting the development of young players are tackled in the different countries. The presentations from Everton FC and Watford FC highlighted the quality and breadth of work taking place in England to develop the next generation of footballing talent. Congratulations to the EPFL for organising the workshop – a most worthwhile exercise.”
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