Leeds United’s Thorp Arch training facility has churned out many a top youngster who has gone on to feature in the first team. It is a pattern that endures to this day. Plans for the future involve Leeds United moving to a bespoke training facility closer to Elland Road on the site of the old Matthew Murray high school. However, it is Thorp Arch for the meantime.

As it stands, Thorp Arch is designated as a Category 2 facility in the classifications according to criteria from the Premier League Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). An earlier article from the Training Ground Guru website said that Leeds were awaiting news on re-categorisation of Thorp Arch, which is located in Wetherby. TGG said on June 23 that Leeds were amongst clubs who “are set to discover their fates within the next few weeks.

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Now, The Athletic’s Phil Hay says that, just two weeks after TGG said it would be a wait of a “few weeks“, Leeds United will receive news that Thorp Arch has been granted Category 1 status by the Premier League’s EPPP. On this, Hay writes:

The present set-up was reassessed by Premier League auditors after the turn of the year and is understood to have been cleared for category one status last week.

Category 1 status opens many doors for Leeds United, not least with an increase in funding. However, aside from the increased cash, there are other benefits that will be available to the Whites. Hay outlines some of these adding:

Leeds, who are believed to spend around £4 million on their academy each year, stand to receive an increase in central revenue for youth development as a result of their new evaluation and their under-23s are expected to compete in Premier League Two next season. Category One status also opens the door for Leeds to apply to enter the Leasing.com Trophy and could allow their youngsters to compete in European competitions too.”

With Leeds United set to learn about their Category 1 status next week, it could be the icing waiting for the cherry-on-top which would be the confirmation of Premer League promotion.

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Is gaining Category 1 status for their Academy that big a news for Leeds United?

Yes.

Building foundations for the future.

No.

It’s good but not too big a deal.