It’s an extremely proud day for the Football Club and our Academy programme.Mike Dodds
Granted by the Professional Game Board (PGB), the categorisation is the highest possible grading available to English Football Clubs and follows an extensive evaluation process from the Professional Game Academy Audit Company (PGAAC), during which Blues’ staffing, football programme, investment and facilities were all deemed befitting of Category 1 level.
The rigorous process included successful assessment of the Academy, including safe to operate and compliance.
During the upcoming campaign, Blues’ Under-23s and Under-18s teams will compete in new league competitions.
The Under-23s, who were yesterday crowned Professional Development League National Champions, will enter the Premier League 2 Division 2, playing for the chance of promotion to Division One. They will also continue to participate in the Premier League Cup.
The Under-18s, who made the play-offs in their Professional Development League programme, will now compete in either the North or South division of the Under-18s Premier League, with the opportunity to be crowned national winners at the season’s conclusion.
Head of Academy, Mike Dodds expressed his delight at the news:
“It’s an extremely proud day for the Football Club and our Academy programme.
“Being recognised as a Category 1 Academy is the culmination of many years of hard work by so many people and I’m delighted for everyone associated with the Club.
“We are now considered to be amongst a group of elite-level academies in the country and our Under-18s and Under-23s teams will be testing themselves against the very best on a weekly basis.
“We have a proven track record of producing some excellent young players here and an enhanced games programme, against top-level opposition, will only serve to improve the quality of players who emerge through our system.
“We are a Club who pride ourselves on giving local boys a chance and believe there is enough talent in the region to really thrive.
“The Board have made a commitment to youth football in helping to achieve Category 1 and have invested in the infrastructure to meet the required criteria.
“The hard work starts now, and I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for Birmingham City’s Academy.”
A subsequent five-day standards audit will be scheduled during the 2021/22 season, with the licence – as per licencing protocol - initially granted on a one-year conditional basis.