Norwich City to leave Ipswich Town in their wake over academy

Ipswich Town say they will resist the temptation to follow arch-rivals Norwich City and apply for 'category one' status in the new four-tier Academy system.

The Canaries announced last month that they would be investing �2m a year – supplemented by �750,000 from the Premier League – in the new set-up.

The main advantage is that category one status removes the rule that states an academy player must live within 90 minutes' drive of the club he plays for.

However, Ipswich aren't following suit, although chief executive Simon Clegg said the decision was not an easy one to make.

Clegg insisted: 'The fact Norwich are pushing forward will have no bearing on what we decide. We won't be forced into anything, we will do the right thing for this football club.


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'With the additional money it (going category one) is going to cost, you have to weigh up the benefits of doing that. It is a significant increase in what we are spending at the moment. But it is a not a financial or football decision only.

'It will be a decision the three of us (owner Marcus Evans, Clegg and manager Paul Jewell) will come to.'

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To apply for the top status, Clegg admitted Town would have to double their current Academy investment – something many fans would back considering the success of the club's famed youth system over the years. Connor Wickham was sold this summer for �8.1m, potentially rising to �12m, but Clegg said it was not as simple as producing a top player every few years.

The chief executive said: 'You have to ask what are the benefits? One of the benefits is that you can 'poach' on a wide basis.

'But realistically, how many parents from just outside Newcastle are going to let someone under the age of 15 relocate down to Ipswich?

'Most people who have young teenagers, in an ideal world, will want them to grow up at home and continue their footballing skills within the normal family environment.'

An advantage of the 'category one' status would be clubs could attract players from across the country.

But Clegg said the club would not be making a decision until there are more concrete details for the new structure – including what impact an increase in the academy budget would have in the financial fair play agreement which Championship clubs have agreed to adopt in the coming seasons.

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