City academy players banned

PUBLISHED: 16:35 11 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 10 June 2010

BRIXINGTON Blues are one of a number of local youth football clubs reeling at the news that any player who is attached to the Exeter City Academy is no longer allowed to play football for their local teams

BRIXINGTON Blues are one of a number of local youth football clubs reeling at the news that any player who is attached to the Exeter City Academy is no longer allowed to play football for their local teams, in some cases sides that they have played with for years. The ruling comes from the Football League and had not applied whilst City were a Non League club playing in the Conference League, but last May's Wembley win, and subsequent promotion, has led to the change in policy, one that will leave a number of youth teams finding it very hard to replace their 'star players'.Brixington Blues Under 12s last year dominated the Exeter Friendly Youth League and claimed a league and cup double. They have been particulary hard hit, losing almost half their side, but it is right across the youth football scene that teams have found they will, next term, have to manage without arguably, their 'better' players.At the Football League head office in Blackpool, Graham Hawkins, Head of Player Development, said: "It is written into the League's academy rules that youngsters, once signed with an academy, should only be playing for that academy club, and it applies to all the age groups at the Club. That said, we do insist that the clubs keep it equitable in as much as they do not overload their Academies as clearly they would not be able to provide football for all their players and we insist that parity is observed across the ages in terms of the amount of football the youngsters play."It does mean that some of the 'stronger' teams in recent years will, overnight, be left significantly 'less powerful', but then the argument is that that will open the doors for greater opportunities for many more aspiring young players!With regard to what ages this applies to, it is across the full range of youth football age groups and so, even at under 9, any youngster who is signed at a Football League club's academy cannot then play for his local team.The news has already had an impact. This week's Monday night meeting of the Exeter & District Youth League heard of at least two sides struggling now to field teams in certain age groups, whilst at Crediton Saints, where they have lost three members of their Under 9 side, it has forced the club into a rethink with regard to the number of sides they are entering into next year's youth league.It is not just the playing side that has been hit for, in some cases, there are youth sides who are coached and managed by fathers of boys at City and, with those lads now effectively 'barred' from playing in a local youth team, the parent/coach does not want to be involved either. It should make for some interesting 'results' next season.

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