A professional football academy invests time and money into training players and have a right to charge other clubs for the development costs of players that move on; however it is very rare that parents are made aware of the consequences of signing for a club and the potential issues that can arise when things go wrong and they want to leave.
Some of the issues you need to be aware of:
- Effectively, the club own the player
- No freedom of movement! Once a player signs with a professional club academy, the academy have the right to retain a players registration, and in a number of cases will only release the players registration once they have received compensation or financial gain.
- No explanation is given to the contracts you are signing.
- The interests of the club come before the interests of the player.
A few scenarios that could be your son!
A young player at the age of 9 or 10 – signs for the local professional club academy – the player after a couple of seasons decides he no longer wants to continue with the academy, the club release the player on a YD10 form which mean that they cannot go to another professional club academy in the future without receiving a fee of compensation (see table below) which is often quite substantial. In reality, it’s very unlikely that another professional club will pay such a fee, leaving that youngster tied to that club, and that club alone!
Another typical scenario that happens which can prevent a player realising their true potential. Player A joins the local professional club academy at the age of 11. The club in question does not have a very good track record of producing players for the first team, in fact in the last 10 years, only 2 local homegrown players have represented the first team. It has been evident at this particular club, that a large percentage of first year professionals that have graduated from the youth ranks, get released after their first year, as there is no programme in place for the 18-21 years age group, which is a critical age span in players development. If young professionals, are not in the first team, and there is no additional training for such players or a games programme, how will they develop to get in the first team. The answer is they do not develop, and as a result they get released, which is exactly what happens.
In the case of Player A, at the age of 15 after excelling in a recognised youth tournament, a category 1 academy of a Premiership club express an interest in taking the 15-year old for a trial. Under the EPPP regulations, the buying club needs to pay compensation of £50,000 which they are prepared to do. If Player A was to be successful, it would mean he would have the opportunity to receive the best coaching, in some of the best facilities, play with and against better players from other Premiership clubs and have the opportunity to be at one of the country’s leading academies. Such a club has a programme for young professionals between 18-21 years, and frequently offers three year contracts thus allowing the player this time to adapt between being a youth team player and establishing themselves in the professional ranks. However, the football academy manager of his current club demands a fee, which is both excessive and unrealistic, and well beyond the compensation which the buying club need to pay. As a result, Player A does not get this opportunity and is left contracted to a club which has a limited programme, which does not develop him to his full potential. Player A did get awarded a one year professional deal, but did not start a first team game, as the first team manager did not think he was ready for football at this level. Player A found that there were no games for him to play, as there was no programme in place for such young professional players who did not make the first team. So, the club were not providing the player with any kind of programme that would help this player get to the standard required to be picked for the first team. Player A found himself just training with the first team squad two or three times a week, and had no game programme to play in. As a result, he was released at the end of his first year, and is now playing local non league football.
The player and his family are very disillusioned that the club did not give him the opportunity to move to a Category 1 club with a first class programme which would have given the player a much better chance of developing to have a career in the game.
Signing for the Local Professional Football Club Academy can be a life changing move for both players and parents and should not be taken lightly.
Most parents fail to scrutinise what their son is actually agreeing to as many are grateful to simply get their boy into a football academy and can only look forward to seeing their son play against the top teams, receive the best coaching, and hopefully go on to make it as a professional footballer.
One thing that stands out above all else is the lack of information and advice, particularly when it comes to signing contracts.
When a player is registered by a Professional Football Club Academy the registration of that player is recorded at the Football League.
There are three very important documents that are used to both register and cancel a player’s registration and all players and parents should be aware of and understand what the documents mean. Here’ a brief explanation of them.
This form is used to register a player with the Football League. A YD4 form is the application form that a player and club signs upon registration at a Professional Club Academy
How long does my registration last?
Under 9, 10, 11 and 12 age groups registration is for a period of one year using registration form YD4.
Under 13 to Under 16 registration is for two years using registration form YD4.
Under 13 and under 16 where a player signs for the maximum period of 4 years on his twelfth birthday. Registration is for four years using registration form YD6.
Under 13 to Under 18 years of age registration could be for up to six years using registration form YD6(A).
Form YD 10 Release Form with Compensation
If you want to leave the Professional Clubs Academy and you are regarded as a good player, you could be in for a long drawn out battle!
Parents need to understand that – 99% of players that are released on a YD10 will not be able to move to another academy if the club they are leaving refuses to let the player leave without any compensation.
Be very careful which form you accept when you leave a club.
If a player is released on a Form YD10 a club is entitled to claim compensation from any other club that attempts to register the player with the Football League. No other club can register a player until the club that holds the player’s registration receives an acceptable compensation package, or provides the player with his YD7 form, which then releases the player without any compensation rights.
Form YD10 is used to terminate a player’s registration by mutual agreement with an Academy and should be sent to the Football League. What this form actually does is cancel a player’s registration at the Football League but with compensation rights still in place.
Clubs often try and cancel a player’s registration using Form YD10 when the player wishes to leave the club against the wishes of the club itself.
Effectively, terminating a player’s registration using a YD10 allows him to play for a non-professional club, such as a Sunday league club, but does NOT allow him to play for another Professional Club’s Academy without the permission of the club he has left.
Confusing? Even though the player’s registration has been cancelled, the professional club still holds all compensation rights up to the player completing his full time education.
Let’s give an example, let’s say that your son has fallen out with the coach at “XXXXXXX” academy and no longer wishes to go there anymore. Or the player concerned is simply not enjoying it, and wants to go and play with his mates at a local grassroots team. After a year another professional club’s academy comes in for him.
As soon as his registration at his new club is submitted to the league, it will be stopped due to the fact that the club he has just left have rights of compensation. For example, players that are in the Under 9 to Under 11 age groups there is an annual fee of £3000 for every year that a player attends the Academy that held his registration..
Academy Player Compensation
Probably the most misunderstood rule in the current Academy system and one that most parents have very little understanding of, player compensation rules have changed since the new EPPP rules came into effect.
The registration of an academy player gives the club that holds his registration the right to charge another club compensation for the training and development of that player. The only way a player can leave a club without any compensation rights is by obtaining a release form YD7. A YD10 form does not waiver a clubs rights to claim compensation when the payer leaves or in the future.
- Compensation is due in respect of any football academy player who is in any age group between Under 9 and Under 16 at the time when he first registered with the applicant club.
- Compensation is based on an initial fee payable to the most recent training club and, if the player is in the Under 12 age groups or older, contingent compensation is payable to all the clubs who trained the academy player from the age group Under 12 and above.
- Fees are based on an annual fixed fee multiplied by the number of years training.
The annual fixed fees by age group are as follows:
|Age group of the Academy Player||Category of the Academy of the Training Club at the relevant time||Applicable Annual Fixed Fee|
|Under 9 to Under 11||All Categories||£3,000|
|Under 12 to Under 16||Category 1||£40,000|
|Under 12 to Under 16||Category 2||£25,000|
|Under 12 to Under 16||Category 3||£12 500|
Form YD 7 Release Form without Compensation
If your son is ever released from an academy, make sure that it is Form YD7 that is submitted to the league.
If a player is released on a Form YD7 they can join another professional club without any rights of compensation being payable to the club that released them and are completely free to sign for any club they wish, be it another academy or any non-professional club.
The benefit of joining IFA
As you may have decided by now, joining a local category 3 club really can hinder the opportunity your child will have in the future. This is why we believe our academy and its no compensation rule offers the best chance to gain a place at a category 1 or two club. With access to a host of top professional clubs, the best of our boys have more than one chance to succeed and a proven pathway to becoming a professional footballer.
To join IFA or take part in a free trial, where you and your son can meet our coaches and get to know us better, please get in touch. We’d love to meet you.