New owners examining Charlton academy upgrade

News Shopper: Roland Duchatelet (left), Chris Powell and Richard Murray. PICTURE BY EDMUND BOYDEN. Roland Duchatelet (left), Chris Powell and Richard Murray. PICTURE BY EDMUND BOYDEN.

ROLAND Duchatelet revealed he is investigating the possibility of upgrading Charlton’s academy to category one status.

The Addicks currently have category two status under the Elite Player Performance Programme, which costs around £1million to run per year.

Category one will double the running costs, require facilities to be improved and also means there should be one coach for every eight players.

It will, however, give the Addicks greater financial protection from clubs who try to sign their young prospects.

And Duchatelet, who will also use his own continental club network to offer young players more experience, admitted category one appeals to him.

“It is definitely a point of attention and we are studying this possibility to upgrade it,” said the Belgian.

“We have a very good academy, we are proud to have category two already but it is an attention point.

“The goal is to foster the academy of Charlton because it is a very well known academy in this country.

“My network of clubs is very interesting to give more experience at the appropriate level for players.

“For example there could be a young player at Charlton who is not as strong as the other boys but is technically very good, like Eden Hazard for example.

“We could put him in Spain for a few years where the football is more technical than physical.

“This kind of player will get the chance to make it in football, whereas if they stay in England it will be more difficult to make it into the first team.

“That is a great benefit of the network. There are some definite advantages in this model, in terms of youth development.

“All the things I do, I’m working in the long-run.

“Throwing money at players and so forth, that is definitely not the strategy here.”

No fewer than eight former academy players have already represented Charlton this term and non-executive chairman Richard Murray praised the club’s former ownership for keeping the youth system going.

He said: “Some credit has to go to the previous owners because even though we made losses every year, the £1million which it costs to run a category two academy was found.

“As soon as Roland came in, he said that it was the minimum he wanted and he will ensure that, which is a big investment.

“Whether we increase it is up to Roland, but what is terrific for us is that we have got that as a platform.”

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