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Academy snub will cost U's £500,000
3:02pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Sport
COLCHESTER United are set to miss out on around £500,000 as a result of their failed bid to become a Category Two club.
The U’s would have received considerable financial backing by the Football Association’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), had their academy been successfully awarded elite status.
Colchester were awarded initial funding by the EPPP, as part of their long-term bid to gain sought-after Category Two status.
But despite ploughing considerable time, money and investment into their bid, they failed to secure the necessary grade which will have implications for their academy.
U’s chairman Robbie Cowling revealed that any funding awarded to them will now be “clawed back”, in the aftermath of the club’s rejected application.
Cowling said: “The EPPP gave us funding last year and they would have done the same this year, had we been Category Two.
“But the decision means that instead of us receiving funding they will give us nothing this year and the money that they gave us last year will now be clawed back.
“The difference in funding we would have received over two seasons had we been Category Two is around £500,000 — that’s the shortfall.
And the chairman added: “If you’re asking me if it’s going to have financial implications, then the answer is yes but we had also planned for both scenarios.”
Cowling has admitted Colchester must think very carefully before deciding whether or not to launch a re-audit for Category Two.
Clubs wishing to apply for elite academy status have to wait three years before being able to conduct a re-audit unless they pay for it or there is a material change.
The area the U’s scored lowest in was productivity, which is loosely based on the success of their youth system over a period of 12 years from 1999 to 2011.
And having been in the dark over their first audit, now knowing their recent history will play such a big part in the grading system may prevent Colchester from launching another bid.
Cowling added: “We’re absolutely determined to pass but that desire will not help us to do that alone.
“We have an action plan in place but we have to make sure that we’ll get over the line.
“What we can’t do is change the past.
“The productivity side of it is something we’ll have to live with over the next couple of seasons.
“And we can’t force the council to give us planning permission.
“There’s no time scale to it as such but we will have to assess things to see if we will be able to pass.”
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