To close the EFL’s first ever Youth Development Week, the League have announced a three-year extension to the successful EFL Futures initiative.
The £1 million per-season programme – which will now run until the end of the 2021/22 campaign – provides clubs with a financial incentive to give homegrown players more first team opportunities.
Confirmation of the extension follows a week of high-profile coverage of the work the EFL and its clubs are undertaking in developing some of the best young players in the country.
Since launching in December 2016, clubs are rewarded for providing starting opportunities in EFL fixtures for players under the age of 21 and who are eligible to play for England (or Wales for Swansea and Newport).
Other initiatives that have been developed recently include the introduction of the Club Developed Player Rule at the start of the 2018/19 season, which ensures each side is required to nominate at least one ‘Club Developed Player’ on their teamsheet of players for all League competition matches.
This is alongside an increase in the number of homegrown players that must also be named from six to seven.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “I am delighted we have been able to confirm a significant extension to a campaign which provides EFL clubs with a tangible, financial reward for providing young players with first team opportunities.
“The announcement comes at the end of a week of raising awareness of a key strategic aim of the EFL, to create more and better homegrown players.
“Clubs invest more than £90 million a year into youth development programmes and are supported centrally by regulatory interventions.”
With one in four registered players in the EFL being eligible for EFL Futures, the Sky Bet Championship has seen the biggest increase in starting appearances for young English players, rising by 15 per cent since 2017.
There have been almost 1,500 starting opportunities so far this season for 169 young English players across all three EFL divisions.
Funding is provided through the 1% Youth Development Levy, with the campaign central to the EFL’s ambition to create opportunities for young players and representing a collective commitment between clubs and our partners to improve opportunities for homegrown players.
Click here for more information on EFL Futures and the EFL’s commitment to Youth Development.