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Crawley Town youth academy expansion plans put on ice

By Crawley News  |  Posted: July 31, 2013

Crawley Town head of youth Steve Martin (left) and coach Mark Beard

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CRAWLEY TOWN have scrapped plans to expand their youth academy, admitting they were "flawed".

Plans for a Category Three academy, that included incorporating the former Aldershot Town youth set-up under the Crawley flag, were announced by former Reds chief executive Richard Low towards the end of last season.

However, following the departure of Low three weeks ago, the Reds have now announced they have scrapped plans to expand the academy to include children aged 9 to 16.

The Reds released a statement on Saturday from the board of directors detailing the revised plans for the academy and chairman Dave Pottinger has confirmed the club will be running a Category Four set-up for 2013-14.

"Steve Martin is staying with us as our head of youth but we won't be running a Category Three academy. It will be Category Four, which means we won't have the younger children," Pottinger explained. "It is a very delicate situation, which the Football League and the football club are discussing."

The statement from Crawley's board of directors read: "Following the recent departure of Richard Low as chief executive of Crawley Town there has been an urgent need to review the proposed plan to integrate the majority of the schoolboy players (9-16) previously registered at Aldershot Town into a Category Three academy at Crawley Town. Following discussions with the Football League it became obvious to us that the model upon which this proposal was based, was indeed flawed.

"Unfortunately, this means we are unable to proceed with the original plan as proposed."

Crawley have announced they will put off making a decision on their academy until nearer the 2014-15 season, but acknowledge their decision will leave many young footballers "very disappointed". "In order for it to work as it is intended to and to have any chance of success, it has to be right for everyone – the club, parents and staff but especially the boys," the club statement continued.

"We understand fully that parents and boys will be very disappointed.

"However, we would like to reassure everyone that we have not taken this decision lightly, or without full consultation with the Football League.

"This dialogue will continue during next season, so that the club can consider all the options available to the youth programme and make a more considered decision about the appropriate status of the academy in good time for the 2014-15 season."

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