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Over the past two years, five club academies have been awarded Category One status on a provisional basis due to the inability to carry out the on site visits due to the pandemic.

In 2020, along with ourselves, Crystal Palace and Leeds were awarded a two-year provisional licence while last year both Birmingham and Nottingham Forest received one-year provisional licences.

Full inspections were carried out at the start of this year with only Palace and Leeds having their higher status rubber stamped according to Training Ground Guru who have reported that auditors raised concerns over the academies at Burnley and Forest with us both now due to go before the Professional Game Academy Audit Company (PGAAC) Board at the end of May.

Birmingham are in more serious trouble, however. It is looking increasingly likely that they could become the first club to be forcibly demoted after a number of problems were highlighted including issues with strategy, staffing and budget. The auditors rejected their application and that decision was ratified by the PGAAC Board.

The club have appealed and await the final decision from the Football Association’s Professional Game Board this week. They will make the final decision and if they reject the appeal then Birmingham will become the first club to be forcibly demoted from Category One. Previously, the clubs who have dropped – Bolton, Brentford, Huddersfield, Swansea and Watford – have done so on a voluntary basis.

Burnley and Forest now await the PGAAC Board decision at the end of this month.

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