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O's to make decision on academy before end of the season

PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 September 2018

Leyton Orient full-back Myles Judd knocks the ball forward against Boreham Wood (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient full-back Myles Judd knocks the ball forward against Boreham Wood (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

It is understood Orient will come to a decision over the future of their academy in March

Leyton Orient look set to make a decision regarding the future of their academy before the end of the 2018/19 season.

It had been hoped if the O’s could secure promotion back to the Football League this term, then they could continue to run their academy like normal.

However, it is understood a decision regarding the academy will be made in March and any promotion from the National League would not impact this.

Back in May, Orient director of football Martin Ling spoke about the challenges the club are battling with now they are no longer in the Football League.

He explained the funding cuts they have had to face and the impact of eventually losing their Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) status, which could be the case this summer.

Ling, speaking exclusively to this title on May 17, said: “We lose 50 per cent of our funding this summer (2018) and we lose 100 per cent of our funding next summer, so we will get no funding at all for the academy and the biggest thing I can say about it is we need to keep our finger on the pulse.

“We need to see what happens over the next year and people need to be aware of how it works.

“We have products across the road at the Score Centre and at the moment we have the protection of EPPP, but EPPP favours the big boys anyway so the big boys can come and cherry pick your players.

“In a year’s time we won’t even have the protection of EPPP, so funding isn’t the main issue for us.

“Next summer we will have no funding, but also no protection and so boys at the Score Centre can train with us and then walk out and people can just come and take them.”

He continued: “It is like having a car showroom across the road. Last summer (2017) if someone wanted the car they had to pay 100 per cent for it, this summer they still need to pay 100 per cent for it, but the summer after that, in 2019, the car is worth nothing because someone can just come in and walk away with it.

“Clubs are finding all different ways to do it and we will be actively looking for the right way forward with the club’s academy and unfortunately it is something all clubs in non-league football have a problem with.

“Some clubs have shut their academy in the league because they don’t feel EPPP is a big enough protection, so we haven’t made any decisions, but we are actively aware there are some decisions to be made.”

It is understood Orient will make a decision in March regarding the academy’s future, but this will not impact scholars.

Even if O’s were to close their academy, they could still continue to keep first and second year scholars and could adopt a similar model to Brentford, who started up a ‘B’ team in May 2016 after closing their academy.

People who would be impacted, however, are coaches at the club who work within the academy and all those young footballers contracted to Orient aged under 16, but any decision made by O’s is clearly one which won’t be taken lightly.

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