NEWPORT County AFC chief executive officer Alex Tunbridge has outlined the benefits of the club’s academy achieving category three status, writes Andrew Penman.

There are four categories of academy. Category one to three academies register players from the under-nine age group through to professionals. Category one is the highest status of academy.

“Our funding will go from £140,000 to £410,000,” explained Tunbridge.

“And, to put that in perspective, last year [2016-2017] the academy lost £140,000 and this year [2017-2018] it will lose close to £40,000.

“Unfortunately there are a lot of additional costs so we won’t see the direct cash benefit of the extra £300,000 [of funding] but we will see the addition of approximately nine full-time staff into the academy.

“And we expect to see the level of coaching increase and the number of players being produced increasing so we can improve that pathway to the first team.”

The Exiles will also be properly compensated if they do lose young talent to rival academies, as has happened in the past year with Rhys Davies joining Leicester City and Rhys Kavanagh moving to Bristol Rovers.

“One of the key things about category four to category three is that if you’re category four you have no compensation rights over players under 16,” said Tunbridge.

“So if there’s a nine-year-old who looks like the next Messi, any club with a category three status or above can come in and take him from you and you won’t receive any compensation for the time you’ve invested in them.

“Within the category three model you can claim compensation for any player under 16 that you lose to another academy.

“The academy lost £40,000 this year but it missed out on approximately £80,000-worth of compensation payments.

“So if we’d been a category three academy [in 2017-2018] we’d have actually made a surplus of £40,000.”