The Premier League revealed today that they would be introducing promotion and relegation in the Barclays U21 Premier League from the 2014/15 season.
From 2014, the league would be split into two divisions of 11 teams each, based on their finishing positions this year.
Clubs would play each other home and away in the same way as the senior Premier League, with no play-offs to determine the champions/teams promoted.
Ged Roddy, the Premier League’s Director of Youth told the Premier League’s official website: “The idea of how we introduce greater competition and replicate the Premier League environment is something that has been debated widely among clubs.
“Following discussion with Premier League Shareholders we met with Academy Managers in the summer to talk about this further. Consensus was reached to put forward the idea of promotion and relegation in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
“What we want in the Academy system is meaningful competition for players. We need to have a match environment that helps players to bridge the gap from Academy to Premier League.
“A key focus for those in the Professional Development Phase has to be on learning to win and preparing for a professional career.
“The introduction of promotion and relegation will ensure a more intense and competitive environment. The fact that it will come in for next season should also give extra meaning to this season’s Barclays Under-21 Premier League, as clubs fight to make sure they get into the top division.”
With 51 clubs entering this year’s inaugural Under 21 Premier League Cup, it seems as if Europe’s top league are eventually doing something to address the problem with youth development in England.