Young players have been left “devastated” by Arsenal’s decision to close down their Women’s Player Development Programme (PDP) for women aged seven to 15, Telegraph Sport has been informed.
Up to 300 women are understood to be affected by the closure, which was communicated to mother and father in a short e-mail on Wednesday. Run at 5 satellite tv for pc websites throughout Hertfordshire and Middlesex, the programme beforehand concerned one session per week, 24 instances a 12 months, in addition to mini tournaments. However, no periods have taken place because the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in England in March 2020.
The PDP was separate to the membership’s most important academy for elite children, which stays in place and is being expanded to embrace youthful age teams, however the players within the PDP nonetheless wore the Arsenal package and lots of had aspirations for a profession in soccer.
An announcement from Arsenal on Thursday stated: “As now we have beforehand shared, there’s a thorough ongoing strategic evaluation of all areas of Arsenal Women. This contains all areas from elite soccer to business and soccer development. 
“The evaluation confirmed that Player Development Programmes present a grassroots soccer provision which is now higher suited to our award-winning Arsenal within the Community division. The particulars of the programmes that will likely be appropriate for PDP members will likely be shared as soon as confirmed. 
“The new construction of the ladies’s pre-Academy (U8, U9, U10, U11) and Academy (U12, U13, U14 & U16) doubles the variety of feminine players in our elite pathway.”
Yet, for the players too previous to apply to be a part of the brand new ‘pre-academy’, there are fears their Arsenal journey ends right here. Anne-Marie Mill, whose daughter had been in one of many PDP’s Under-14 teams, stated “At an age when women typically simply drop out of soccer, that is so essential, and I fear quite a lot of them will drop out. They’ve simply reduce them adrift, that’s the way it feels.
“It’s actually devastating for all of them. The youngsters are offered a dream – now this simply doesn’t odor proper. Something stinks right here.”
One dad, who wished to stay nameless to defend his daughter’s id, added: “She was very happy with the very fact she was placing an Arsenal shirt on, the teaching was first-class, and she or he was completely loving it. It’s actually disappointing for the children and the mother and father. It sort of leaves the ladies in a limbo state now.
“I perceive there aren’t any ensures in soccer, however the way in which it has been managed is poor. It hasn’t taken under consideration the emotions of those younger women. My daughter wished to stick with it enjoying for Arsenal so she didn’t join any trials elsewhere.”
‘We did not get our cash’s value’
Several different mother and father have additionally informed Telegraph Sport they’ve been disillusioned with the extent of communication from Arsenal because the pandemic, and shocked the periods had not returned as soon as grassroots sport in England was permitted to resume – nor have been digital video periods organized throughout any intervals of lockdown.
Joining the PDP – for these profitable at trials – is alleged to have price round £270 per season, which additionally included an Arsenal shirt and Arsenal ladies junior membership. A mother or father added: “It all actually began to go downhill when Covid hit, there was little or no communication for a lot of months. We actually didn’t get our cash’s value. I really feel their response to Covid has been so torpid.”
In response, Arsenal’s assertion continued: “We have been supporting the mother and father and carers of our PDP individually. All members have been invited to apply for an academy trial and we are actually working with native grassroots groups to signpost players which is able to concurrently assist grassroots groups construct their expertise swimming pools. This is likely one of the many group programmes designed for each males & females and group programmes designed for females solely.
“All mother and father/carers have been contacted in March to inform them that our PDP wouldn’t return for the 20-21 season and {that a} productive evaluation was underway, which acknowledged an replace in June and invited all players to register for an academy trial.”
However, mother and father have stated these trial invites got here with lower than per week’s discover of the trials date, which was in the course of the half-term break when many women weren’t out there, and declare the information of the PDP’s closure emerged after most different native groups’ summer time trials hadeither concluded or purposes had closed.

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