Charlton AthleticSport

‘It won’t be long’ – Addicks owner Thomas Sandgaard confident on gaining category 1 academy status

Thomas Sandgaard has made a confident claim over Charlton Athletic’s bid to secure category one status for their academy, writes Richard Cawley.

There are 28 clubs who have category one status. That sees them compete in the U18 Premier League, which is split into a northern and southern section.

It is the highest grading English clubs can achieve and also boosts recruitment – as academies can only sign players from their level or below. It also limits the clubs which can try and poach prize prospects.

Charlton were awarded category two status following the implementation of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) in the 2012-13 season.

Ged Roddy, appointed technical director of the Addicks by Sandgaard in October 2020, had overseen the implementation of EPPP before he left his role as an executive board member at the Premier League in September 2017.

Asked by the South London Press about Charlton’s progress in securing category one status, Sandgaard said: “It won’t be long. As you know, I am very ambitious. I make sure things come to fruition. We are working on things in that direction. It’s looking very good.

“I could probably tell you more, because there are no ramifications from me doing so, but I prefer to talk when they are complete and done.”

Charlton recently secured defender Deji Elerewe, 18, on a professional deal until at least 2024.

Deji Elerewe Picture: Paul Edwards

“In relatively short order he can be a real asset to our first team,” said Sandgaard.

“It took a long time to get that sorted.

“Football agents are not the easiest to deal with, let’s put it that way. It’s not impossible, but they don’t make it easy.

“Deji’s family is very supportive of Deji, the club and his future. We have a good relationship with Deji and his family.

“Deji is such a great lad – his personality alone makes it worth it. He’s so talented and his ability to position himself makes it look so easy for him.”


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