Cape Town - Southampton Football Club have been awarded a new three-year licence for a Category One Academy, subject to ratification by the Professional Game Board (PGB).
Saints were first awarded their Category One status in 2012 following the introduction of the Premier League’s Elite Performance Plan (EPPP), with the aim of improving the opportunities for homegrown players produced by English clubs.
With constant improvements being made by clubs across the country, the EPPP criteria has been enhanced since 2012, and the independent audit that was carried out over a six-month period this year has seen Saints retain their Category One status for another three years.
Saints were one of very few clubs to achieve the status, showing that the club’s philosophy, values, coaching, facilities and commitment to developing young players is among the best in the country.
The Category One status means Saints will continue to compete against all the other Category One academies at Under-21 level, while this will also be the case for the club’s Under-18s and Under-16s again next season.
Academy Manager Matt Hale said: “I am delighted that we have been awarded a new three-year licence as a Category One Academy. It’s the highest possible outcome and is a real reward for the hard work of everyone at the football club.
“Although we have always been confident in our ability to deliver a first-class academy setup, we have shown no complacency, and it remains a prestigious recognition in the world of football that we are viewed as one of the best football academies in England.
“The auditors were highly impressed with our achievements as an Academy, our philosophy, our welfare and operational plans and our medical and elite performance support.
“The recognition is fantastic news for the football club as we look forward to the start of the 2016/17 campaign across all of our age groups.”