The FA this morning confirmed the awarding of twenty Professional Game Academy Licenses (PGAs) for the 2023/24 season to clubs in the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, with the academies forming part of the new look player pathway.
The revised pathway, which was announced in February, intends to identify and develop the very best talent in England, while also making the game more diverse, accessible and inclusive.
The PGAs will replace the 16 current FA WSL Academies and will provide a high-quality training environment to ensure players coming out of the pathway are ready to compete at the highest levels of the domestic and international game.
The PGAs, which have been developed following an extensive consultation period across the game, will come to fruition in the 2023/24 season and will cater for the development of talented female players between the ages of 14 to 20.
Initially, 20 clubs have been awarded licenses for the 2023/24 season. All 24 Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship clubs will be required to deliver an academy by the 2025/26 season.
Clubs have been awarded either a Category 1 license, which will see two age groups catered for, or a Category 2 license, which will cater for one. The age groups will be identified to fit the club’s development model.
The PGAs will see a significant increase in investment into the game through both The FA and club contributions.
The clubs that have been awarded licenses are:
|Category 1||Category 2|
|Aston Villa||Charlton Athletic|
|Birmingham City||Reading FC|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||Sunderland AFC|
Kay Cossington, The FA’s Women’s Technical Director, said: “Our Professional Game Academies form a key stage of our player pathway. It is at this point that the player becomes ready for top level football but also develops them as a person so they’re prepared for life in and out of the game.
“We are grateful to the 20 clubs across the country who have recognised their importance and shown a real commitment to player progression and development. We look forward to working with them closely as they develop the next generation of talent and evolve our game for the future.”
This is hugely positive and something that I support but as someone involved within a youth age group for a football club competing in the fourth tier, seeing money pumped into the top of the pyramid, yet again, without a hint of money trickling down is disheartening.