If there's one message that's been hammered home by those in power at Reading FC over the past few months, it's how important the club's Academy is for the future of the club. I for one can't disagree with that sentiment and so with that in mind it's great to hear that the club has retained its category 1 status.
What does that mean you might ask? Well it all boils down to the Elite Player Performance Plan, or EPPP for short. We covered the plan back on it's inception back in 2011, where we explained the good and the bad of the most radical shake up of youth football for a generation.
In a nutshell it means the club will be largely protected from having its young talent
poached signed by clubs who have a higher category than us.
It also keeps the club's youth teams competing with the very best in the country and should help allow the club to continue to bring in some of the best young talent from not just the Reading area, but across the UK.
There's very little bad news to go along with this story and it's a positive sign that the Thai owners have continued to pump enough money in to keep the Academy going at such a level. Whether we'll be able to keep it long-term might depend on the status of the new training ground, of which news has been eerily silent on in recent months.
Still, congratulations to all involved and fingers crossed we can see more players of the calibre of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alex Pearce, Hal Robson-Kanu, Jordan Obita & Alex McCarthy come through in the years to come.