Academy awarded top status under EPPP rules.
Sunderland AFC is one of an initial group of 12 clubs that has been awarded its Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) Academy Category.
The club is delighted to confirm that it has been awarded the highest classification of Category One status.
The EPPP is a long-term strategy designed to take Premier League Youth Development to the next level. The biggest shake-up in youth football development in over a decade has seen full consultation between the Premier League and its clubs, representatives of the Football League, the Football Association and other key football stakeholders on the best way to advance youth development.
Sunderland fans should be immensely proud of the Academy today
- Margaret Byrne
EPPP has six fundamental principles, including increasing the number and quality of Home Grown Players gaining professional contracts in the clubs and playing first-team football at the highest level, creating more time for players to play and be coached, improving coaching provision and implementing a system of effective measurement and quality assurance
Academies were independently audited and given a Category status of 1 to 4, with 1 being the most elite. Up to 10 different factors were considered in the grading, including productivity rates; training facilities; and coaching, education and welfare provisions.
Speaking about the announcement SAFC's Academy manager, Ged McNamee said: "The awarding of Category One status is testament to the professionalism, hard work, dedication and commitment of everyone involved in the academy operation at Sunderland.
"This cements our reputation for youth development and will hopefully enhance our ability to attract the best calibre of young players to the club."
SAFC's chief executive Margaret Byrne added:"We are thrilled and delighted that our Academy has been recognised among the very best in the country. "Developing home grown talent is a key principle in our club strategy and youth development will always remain one of our core principles.
"In recent years we have seen our Academy set up go from strength to strength, producing some wonderful young talent such as Jordan Henderson and Jack Colback. Ged and his team have done a remarkable job and long may that continue. "Sunderland fans should be immensely proud of the Academy today."