Birmingham City admits ‘sizeable obstacle’ in statement after academy downgraded

Birmingham City have confirmed their academy has been downgraded to Category Two for the upcoming 2022/23 season.

Blues were granted a one-year provisional license to operate as a Category One academy by the Premier League last year. But, following an audit conducted in February, Blues have been stripped of their Category One status and will now be unable to compete in Premier League development competitions.

In a statement confirming the Premier League’s decision, the Blues have pledged to continue to provide a pathway for local youngsters to reach their first team squad. The club have, however, admitted it has been difficult to meet the financial requirements of a Category One academy.

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Part of the statement read: “Whilst we are disappointed with the results of the audit and the decision of the PGAAC, we acknowledge the many challenges associated with operating a Category One academy and that costs have been significantly higher than anticipated. This has presented a sizable obstacle when attempting to meet the required Category One conditions.

“As a club, we pride ourselves on the clear pathway that exists from our academy to our first team and remains committed to producing players capable of competing for places in the senior squad. The number of academy graduates who made first team appearances in the 2021 / 22 campaign was more than any season in the past decade.

“We recently operated a thriving Category Two academy and will prepare our teams for an equally successful future, striving for excellence, and will work hard over the coming months to address the factors that informed the PGB’s decision. The decision is due to be ratified by the PGB at their next meeting on Tuesday 24 May. “

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