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Premier League Logo 2016Things are changing at the top end of English football for the teams directly below the first team. With immediate effect, the old Under-21 Premier League is to be replaced by a new league entitled Premier League 2.

The Premier League claim this league will have a greater focus on a level of play in terms of technicality, physicality and intensity to bring players as close to first team experience as possible.

The league will see a change in the age limit with a rise from under-21 to under-23 which will allow players to feature this season if they were born after 1st January 1993. Clubs will continue to be permitted to field an over age goalkeeper and three over age outfield players in every game.

Although clubs will be allowed to stage up to three games per season at their training ground or academy venue, they will also be required to play at least three league matches at their main stadium to help enhance the match day experience for the players and fans.

The league will continue to be made up of 24 clubs in two divisions, with promotion and relegation between them, and the league remains open to clubs who are EPPP Category 1 status. That, of course, excludes us and will continue even though we are currently looking to secure Category 2 status for 2017 and beyond.

I’m sure this will filter down though and that would hopefully allow us to play in an under-23 league from 2017/18 season onwards.

The clubs who will kick off 2016/17 in PL2 are:

Division 1: Arsenal, Chelsea, Derby, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Tottenham

Division 2: Aston Villa, Blackburn, Brighton, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Norwich, Swansea, Stoke, West Brom, West Ham, Wolves

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