English Football League (EFL) outfit Birmingham City have announced an overhaul of their academy structure, which will include a ‘B and C team’ model implemented.
The announcement comes after an internal review was undertaken in consultation with key stakeholders, following the government’s decision to operate a points-based system for recruiting academy prospects from abroad once the UK has left the European Union, as well suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
The B and C team model of academy development was adopted by fellow Championship side Brentford in 2016, after restrictions were placed on them by the Premier League’s elite performance plan. Similarly, Birmingham City will look to this approach in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.
The Blues’ academy has been successful in recent years having produced the likes of Jack Butland, Nathan Redmond, Demarai Gray, who have all played in England’s top flight league and received international call-ups. Last summer, academy graduate Jude Bellingham joined German side Borussia Dortmund in a reported £30 million deal.
According to local news outlet BirminghamLive, a letter has been emailed to current academy players’ parents providing details on the planned shake-up, however, no concrete details were disclosed regarding the future of those players.
A statement released by Birmingham City read: “There are many challenges to achieving an efficient and productive Academy system.
“Firstly, we share an immediate geographical catchment area with a number of other professional Football Clubs which makes attracting the best young talents from the local region increasingly difficult.
“Secondly, whilst we continue to field a competitive Under-23s team in the Professional Development League, there lies difficulty in exposing players to the standard of football which renders them equipped and ready for our First Team.
“Additionally, the necessary resource and funding of the Academy has to make sense from a business perspective.”
It has been reported that the academy costs the West Midlands club around £3 million per year.
“As a direct response to the findings of the internal review, the Club will be looking at remodelling the Academy system and exploring a “B and C Team” model,” the statement added.
“We believe that the reallocation of both staff and subsidy, will provide the Football Club with a unique and unrivalled programme, catered towards an elite group of young players who will regularly challenge for positions in the First Team squad.
“This new and exciting direction will transform Birmingham City into a Club that gifted young footballers will aspire to join.”
Author: Jake Wilkin