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Leeds United academy to be awarded category one status.

Andrea Radrizzani has spoken repeatedly about his desire to achieve this, and it looks to be done.

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport/Getty Images

Leeds United’s lauded academy is to be awarded Category One status by the Premier League under the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), according to a report by Phil Hay in The Athletic.

This will mean Leeds’ academy is in the top-tier of academies for the first time since the plan was approved in 2011.

Andrea Radrizzani has often spoken of his desire to have a category one academy, but the improvements have been accelerated since the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa. Not only have there been major improvements at Thorp Arch, but Leeds have secured permission and have begun the process for building a new training ground on the site of the former Matthew Murray High School.

The academy has been run at a Category One standard for a while, but has now been reassessed by Premier League auditors.

Phil Hay’s report states that the club currently spend around £4m per year on their academy, and this move to Category One will lead to an increase in central funding for youth development. It will also mean Leeds U23s play in the “Premier League 2” giving Leeds’ young players a higher standard of opposition. The U23 side will also be eligible to play in the “Leasing.com” trophy. That trophy is an abomination and clubs being allowed to put u23 sides into it is awful, but Leeds would have the option and many Premier League clubs do use that option.

EPPP gives Category One clubs the ability to sign young players from lower category academies with fixed fees in place, which are considered by most to be too low. Lots of things about this system are unfair, but from a Leeds perspective it should mean Leeds are on the right end of the unfair deals which has not usually been the case.