Professional Development League

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For the American league, see Premier Development League.

The Professional Development League is a system of youth football leagues that are managed, organised and controlled by the Premier League or by the Football League. It was introduced by the Football Association via the Elite Player Performance Plan in 2012.[1]

The system was introduced in early 2012 and was active for the first time during the 2012–13 season. It is a successor to the Premier Reserve League, Premier Academy League and Football Combination. The Football League Youth Alliance makes up League 3 of the under 18 system. The system covers the under-18 and under-21 age groups.[1]

Previously, clubs participating in the Premier Reserve League (the highest level of reserve football in England) were removed from the competition if their first team in the Premier League were relegated and replaced with a promoted team. Under the Professional Development League system, Premier League reserves teams' league status is not directly linked to the first team's Premier League status. Instead, there are three different Professional Development Leagues at each age-group level and clubs in the top four tiers of the English football league system are placed in the system based on the assessment of their academy for the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

U21 level[edit]

The U21 age-range was set up for the first time with the introduction of the Professional Development League. Teams are allowed to field three overage outfield players and one overage goalkeeper. League 3 clubs voted against introducing an U21 league, the northern based sides instead choosing to continue fielding reserve sides in the Central League.

League 1[edit]

U21 Professional Development League 1
Country England
Founded 2012
Current champions Manchester United
Most championships Manchester United
(3 titles)
Current season

League 1 is open to clubs with an EPPP category 1 academy. For the 2012–13 to 2015–16 seasons, it was named the Barclays U21 Premier League under a sponsorship deal. From the 2016–17 season onwards, it will be known as Premier League 2. The competition is split into two divisions, with promotion and relegation between each.

Champions[edit]

Season Champion
Barclays U21 Premier League
2012–13 Manchester United
2013–14 Chelsea
2014–15 Manchester United
2015–16 Manchester United
Club Wins Seasons
Manchester United 3 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16
Chelsea 1 2013–14

League 2[edit]

U21 Professional Development League 2
Country England
Founded 2012
Current champions Huddersfield Town
Most championships Four clubs
(1 title)

Current season

League 2 is open to clubs with an EPPP category 2 academy. It currently has no sponsored name. The competition is split into two regional divisions, with the overall champion determined after an end of season play-off series.

Champions[edit]

Season
2012–13 Charlton Athletic
2013–14 Crewe Alexandra
2014–15 Swansea City
2015–16 Huddersfield Town
Club Wins Seasons
Charlton Athletic 1 2012–13
Crewe Alexandra 1 2013–14
Swansea City 1 2014–15
Huddersfield Town 1 2015–16

U18 level[edit]

The Professional Development U18 Leagues 1 and 2 replaced the Premier Academy League, with League 3 still being run under the auspices of the Football League Youth Alliance.

League 1[edit]

U18 Professional Development League 1
Country England
Founded 2012
Current champions Manchester City
Most championships Four clubs
(1 title)

Current season

League 1 is open to clubs with an EPPP category 1 academy. It is currently named the Barclays U18 Premier League under a sponsorship deal. The competition is split into two regional divisions, with the eventual champion winning a second league stage.

Champions[edit]

Season Champions
2012–13 Fulham
2013–14 Everton
2014–15 Middlesbrough
2015–16 Manchester City
Club Wins Seasons
Fulham 1 2012–13
Everton 1 2013–14
Middlesbrough 1 2014–15
Manchester City 1 2015–16

League 2[edit]

U18 Professional Development League 2
Country England
Founded 2012
Current champions Charlton Athletic
Most championships Charlton Athletic
(2 titles)

Current season

League 2 is open to clubs with an EPPP category 2 academy. It currently has no sponsored name. The competition is split into two regional divisions, with the overall champion determined after an end of season play-off series.

Champions[edit]

Season Champions
2012–13 Queens Park Rangers
2013–14 Huddersfield Town
2014–15 Charlton Athletic
2015–16 Charlton Athletic
Club Wins Seasons
Charlton Athletic 2 2014–15, 2015–16
Huddersfield Town 1 2013–14
Queens Park Rangers 1 2012–13

League 3[edit]

Champions[edit]

Season Division 1 North Division 1 South
1998–99 Sheffield United -
1999–00 Bury Brighton & Hove Albion
2000–01 Doncaster Rovers Leyton Orient
2001–02 Tranmere Rovers Brentford
2002–03 Tranmere Rovers Brentford
2003–04 Oldham Athletic Cambridge United
2004–05 Oldham Athletic Cambridge United
Season North-West Conference North-East Conference South-West Conference South-East Conference
2005–06 Oldham Athletic Chesterfield Yeovil Town Brighton & Hove Albion
2006–07 Oldham Athletic Hull City Oxford United Queens Park Rangers
2007–08 Walsall Hull City Plymouth Argyle Queens Park Rangers
2008–09 Wrexham Chesterfield Swindon Town Southend United
2009–10 Preston North End Hull City Swindon Town Millwall
2010–11 Rochdale Chesterfield Swindon Town Queens Park Rangers
2011–12 Preston North End Hull City Plymouth Argyle Queens Park Rangers
2012–13 Wrexham Hull City Bristol Rovers Portsmouth
2013–14 Blackpool Bradford City Exeter City Colchester United
2014–15 Bury Bradford City Bournemouth Barnet

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Youth development rules" (pdf). TheFa.com. Retrieved 8 August 2012.