U21 League Gets Promotion/Relegation
Promotion and relegation introduced to U21 league from next term
Promotion and relegation is to be introduced to the Premier League's Under-21 competition.
The former reserve league has been rebranded and reformatted in recent years but a definitive two tier structure will be introduced from next season.
It means Alan Stubbs' side must finish in the top 11 of this season's 22-team league to play in the top league the following season.
Stubbs told evertonfc.com: "It's an interesting development to the league. You are going to get one or two clubs who are in favour of it and one or two who aren't.
"There will be more emphasis placed on the lads to get results and they will know what it's like to be battling for promotion and relegation.
"From our point of view, we have to make sure we get on with it and concentrate on getting the results that see us finish in the top half."
A Premier League statement said: "From the 2014/15 season and beyond, the League will be divided into two divisions, based on their league position at the end of the current 2013/14 season, with promotion and relegation between them (with two teams up and two teams down) for future seasons.
"On the current basis that that there are 22 Category 1 clubs [including Everton], this would mean two divisions of 11 clubs each in 2014/15. Clubs would play each other home and away. There would be no plays-offs or final like the current system, instead whoever tops the League at the end of the season is champions."
Stubbs' side have won two and lost two of their four games this term and are next in action at Newcastle on Monday evening.
Ged Roddy, Premier League Director of Youth, said: “The idea of how we introduce greater competition and replicate the Premier League environment is something that has been debated widely amongst clubs. Following discussion with Premier League Shareholders we met with Academy Managers in the summer to discuss this further. Consensus was reached to put forward the idea of promotion and relegation in the Barclays U21 Premier League."
In addition, this season will see the introduction of the Under-21 Cup, a competition involving 51 teams which Everton, as a category 1 academy, will enter at the third round stage.