Bees pass independent auditBrentford Football Club’s Academy has been officially graded as Category Two after an independent audit.
Foot Pass – a Belgium based company responsible for all Youth Academy audits in the UK – came to check all aspects of the Brentford’s youth development system towards the end of last season.
They have approved Brentford’s application to operate a Category Two Football Academy for the next three years.
Ose Aibangee, Brentford Academy Director, said the audit team checked the department forensically during a four-day visit and staff within the Academy that had been through inspections from Ofsted, the Government’s schools inspector, said the Foot Pass audit was tougher.
“They checked everything with a fine tooth comb,” he said.
“And they agreed that we were operating at Category Two level.
“This is a massive achievement for the Club and for the staff in the Academy.
“It is easy for me to say that we are running a top Academy but now someone else has come in, checked everything and agreed.
“That is very good news.”
The Elite Player Performance Programme (EPPP), the new way of organising young player development in England, came in to force last summer.
It removed the two-tier system that has been in operation in recent years – with some clubs operating Centres of Excellence and others Football Academies – and move to a four-tier system.
All clubs will run Football Academies, categorised One to Four with Category One and Two being the most elite.
The clubs with higher rated Academies will gain more funding and will have an exclusive fixture programme, with Category One and Two Academies playing fixtures against each other with clubs at Category Three and Four levels doing likewise.
Ose said: “We are the only League One club that has gone from being a Centre of Excellence to a Category Two Academy.
“That is a massive jump.
“For us to meet all the criteria showed how much work the staff have done to get us to where we are.
“It was very important for us to get approval to operate at this level
“The difference between Category Two and Category Three is massive.
“We are now grouped in with Category One teams and will play against them.
“It has all come about as a result of lots of hard work.
“The Club’s Board of Directors and owner Matthew Benham have always backed our application and I thank them for it.
“The medium term strategy is for Brentford Football Club to develop young players to come through our ranks and in to the First Team.
“Being an elite Academy will give us a better chance to do this.”
Clubs opening Category Two Academies had to meet requirements in terms of staffing levels, contact time with players and education provision among other things.
As part of Brentford’s move towards Category Two, the Club has agreed a partnership with Uxbridge High School to enable some young players to be educated there and train on site in a new indoor facility that is close to being completed.