Academy changes to boost player development
The Super League and Championship clubs have agreed to implement revisions to the player development pathways for 2013.
The changes aim toincrease the efficiency of player development systems whilst maintaining quality and were agreed today by the RFL’s independent Board of Directors.
They follow a lengthy consultation by the clubs as to the most appropriate structure for the development of players within and beyond the Academy teams and will see Super League and Championship clubs forge stronger links to support the development of players beyond 19 years.
From next season, the current youth and Academy structures will evolve to a revised system that includes:
- Merged Under-15s and Under-16s scholarship schemes at Under-16 level;
- Under-18 Academy to become Under-19s;
- Under-20s Valvoline Cup to end and be replaced with an Under-19s competition;
- Extension of Dual Registration and loan arrangements;
- Improved quality standards set for all Super League Academy systems
The aim is to continue toimprove the development of players, improve the return on investment by clubs, reduce player ‘stockpiling’ and increase the opportunities available for the game’s young stars to experience competitive first-team action.
Under the revisions, Super League and Championship clubs will be able to enter into Partnership Agreements: the 13 UK-based Super League clubshave the option to partner with at least one Championships club; any second partnership must be with a Championship club from Cumbria, the North East, the Midlands, the South West, South Yorkshire, London, Wales or France.
“The majority of clubs are confident that the new systems will aid the development of young players and help them progress to the highest standard possible,” said RFL Director of Performance and Coaching Jon Roberts.
“By entering into partnerships, the Super League and Championships clubs can increase standards by creating increased opportunities for all their players to experience the most competitive first-team action possible.”
Under current arrangements, the Championships clubs are allowed to field a maximum of four dual-registered or loan players: that will be increased to five under the new partnership.