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Wednesday 07 November 2012

Stoke announce £6m training ground plan

Potters hope development work will earn Category 1 status for their Academy

Stoke believe Category 1 status would enable them to attract the best young players

Stoke City have unveiled plans for a £6m expansion of their training ground facilities.

The Club hopes the improvements to its Clayton Wood Training Ground will enable it to achieve Category 1 status in the Premier League's new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

The EPPP is a long-term strategy designed to take Premier League Youth Development to the next level, and it will see clubs’ academies awarded a status of 1 to 4.

"We want to ensure that we are right up there with the top clubs" - Stoke's Richard Smith

Stoke’s plans include a full-size indoor pitch, as well as an expansion of the training ground complex to accommodate changing rooms, offices and a treatment room.

They hope to begin building work later in the year.

Richard Smith, Managing Director of Stoke City Property Ltd, told the club's official website: "The Club and its owners are firmly committed to achieving Category 1 status which will give us the best possible chance of developing our own players for the first team.

"EPPP is designed to create a structure and facilities which will give English football a world-class Academy system, and we want to ensure that we are right up there with the top clubs so we can nurture the best young talent in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas, while also attracting the best young players who are available to us.

"At this stage of the EPP assessment process, we have to demonstrate a commitment to developing these facilities and we believe we are putting together a strong bid to achieve Category 1 status with what we have in place and what we plan to create.

"But we are also well aware that failing to attain that ranking would have implications for the Academy because other Category 1 clubs could cherry pick our players."

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Key Points

  • Stoke will spend £6m on their training facilities
  • Plans include a full-size indoor pitch
  • EPPP will rank clubs' Academies from 1 to 4