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Nota de Prensa

THU 20.06.2024 | Nota de Prensa

LALIGA celebrates the consolidation of its Academy Plan with growth of almost 30% compared to last season plus new future projects

Youth academy managers of the clubs exchanged ideas during the 8th Academy Meeting at Real Sporting's Estadio El Molinón.

Nota de Prensa

THU 20.06.2024

LALIGA's National Plan for the Optimisation and Improvement of Youth Academies is now in its second year with a growth of around 30% compared to the previous year, where clubs had already seen 20% growth since its implementation. With more than half of the clubs exceeding 60-70% of the objectives in the first phase of the Plan, this collective effort cements the expectations of this 10-year project, with results underlining LALIGA's global leadership in grassroots football development. This further reinforces the commitment to a national and sustainable model of youth development, aligned with Financial Fair Play objectives, which feeds the first teams, national teams and provides funding to clubs thanks to the high market value of home-grown youth players.

The 42 LALIGA clubs were invited to the 8th Academy Meeting, hosted by Real Sporting in two historic venues: Estadio El Molinón in Gijón and its recently refurbished Mareo training complex. As well as reviewing the fulfilment of the indicators of the 5 pillars of the Plan, the event also served as a setting for the presentation of two new developments: the results of a questionnaire shared with the clubs themselves showing their most important requirements, and a study containing data on youth players in Spanish professional football.

Furthermore, those responsible for the clubs' youth academies attended a training session on child protection given by Kunina Consulting, which showed the importance of dedicated comprehensive player care within the Plan, a distinctive pillar that deals with holistic training, paying special attention to mental health care, child protection plans and higher education levels (Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and University). This has led to a general increase in the number of youth players completing higher

education. At some clubs they are already in the majority with a marked decrease in the number of school drop-outs.

Another important pillar is dedicated to the Structure and Development of Club Professionals, which aims to professionalise and provide quality training for youth academy technical staff, among other things. In this regard, the results of the club questionnaire revealed an interest in the development of special training programmes for youth academy professionals.

The next pillar, linked to the previous one, deals with the Training Model and Transition to Competition. The clubs made their demand for the development of rational regulation governing transfers between youth academies clear, something that 78% of the clubs want. LALIGA, although it does not have regulatory powers in this regard, expressed its willingness to promote and support specific work in this regard over the coming years. Moreover, 91% of the clubs are in favour of implementing a special youth academy certification programme in the future, with advantages such as player registration linked to the first team. Furthermore, 75% of the clubs would like to create new competitive formats between youth academies, something that will be worked on in the future, even regarding continental competitions.

The fourth pillar, Infrastructure and Resources, is supported by its link to the Boost LALIGA Plan, which provides funding for investment in technological tools and the improvement of training centres: 30 of the 42 clubs have already refurbished, built new training centres or are in the process of doing so.

Finally, the fifth pillar, Development and Transition to Professional Football, became a key focus area during the meeting with the presentation of data from a study carried out by LALIGA using the LALIGA Mediacoach and LALIGA Manager tools, supported by Transfermarkt data, reflecting the success of the clubs' commitment to a national and sustainable youth academy model.

On the one hand, it was revealed that the participation in LALIGA EA SPORTS of youth players registered in reserve teams increased by 33% compared to last season. Also, over the last two seasons, youth players registered in reserve teams generated a market value of €280.35 million in their debut season in the LALIGA EA SPORTS alone. On the other hand, youth players generated €172.44 million in LALIGA EA SPORTS and €43.25 million in LALIGA HYPERMOTION through transfers to other clubs. This data only takes into account youth players playing for the first team.

 

The LALIGA club model is based on the development of Spanish talent, as 95% of the youth players registered in reserve teams and participating with the first team are of Spanish nationality, something that will have a positive impact on the national team. Another fact that demonstrates the commitment to domestic players is that 70% of the

non-academy graduates registered with reserve teams and are involved with the first team are Spanish nationals and have been developed by other clubs within the Spanish system. This has a very positive impact on the objectives of this pillar of the Youth Academy Plan, which seeks to increase the percentage of players from the youth categories who form part of the club's first team, are called up to national teams, or are playing professional football (Big Five European leagues). Aside from training players for their first teams, the high market value of Spanish youth players also translates into profits for the clubs in the transfer market, national team performance and Spanish representation in other leagues.

 

“Our idea is that in Phase 1, the responsibility lies with the clubs, while in Phase 2 LALIGA will take over to try to respond to the demands discussed with the clubs. The Youth Academy Plan seeks to strengthen an area where LALIGA is already strong on a global level: we have a lot of football talent, and our youth academies not only produce professional players, but also coaches, sporting directors, analysts... in a year of consolidation, the results have exceeded our expectations. These solid results will be the ideal starting point for the second phase of the Plan, which will begin in 2025, and will seek to drive forward many of the demands that have been identified by the clubs, and we will try to do this hand in hand with other institutions,” stated Juan Florit, Head of Sports Projects at LALIGA.

 

The youth academy: LALIGA clubs' collective brand

The official figures make it clear that LALIGA leads both in terms of opportunities and value of home-grown players in the Spanish competition itself and the quality professional players exported to the 5 major leagues. During the 2023-24 season, youth players played 19.4% of the minutes in the competition, compared to 14.9% in Ligue 1, 8.6% in the Bundesliga, 8% in the Premier League, and 5.5% in Serie A, making LALIGA the benchmark in grassroots football across Europe where youth players are given the most opportunities (data from the CIES Observatory).

Additionally, LALIGA EA SPORTS is the competition with the highest percentage of homegrown players among the 5 big European leagues: 23.1% of the total number of players, compared to 17.85% in the next best league, the Bundesliga. Homegrown players also account for the highest percentage of the total value among the big leagues: 24.4% of the total market value, followed by Ligue 1 with 14.74% of the total value of its players (Transfermarkt data, season 2022-23).

In other words: it's the competition that gives the most opportunities to its youth players, and they also have a high market value. The data shows the distinguishing feature of LALIGA: the youth academy as a collective brand.

© LALIGA - 2024