QUEENS Park Rangers Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Shaun Hallett as Head of Academy and Football Operations.
Following the introduction of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) by the Premier League, which is designed to establish a hierarchy of association football academies in England, Hallett’s role will primarily involve preparing QPR’s youth set-up for advancement within the new structure.
Hallett spent six weeks auditing the club’s youth set-up on instruction from QPR Technical Director Mike Rigg and, following his recommendations, has been brought in to see they are implemented.
“It was only a very soft audit but one of my recommendations from that was the Academy should be more in-synch with the football operations of the club,” Hallett told www.qpr.co.uk
“Where we are now and where we need to be are quite a distance apart. There is a world of difference between identifying the appropriate staffing structure on paper and actually putting the people into that structure who will be able to deliver.
“As part of the new structure we are implementing, everyone who was working here on contract have been retained and given a permanent role within the Academy.
“We are now in the process of building a team.”
Under the EPPP, there are four categories which Premier League and Football League academies fall into. Category One represents the top academies in the country.
QPR have applied for Category Two status and will discover if they have been successful following an independent audit which is anticipated to take place early in 2013.
“The plan at this stage is to hopefully secure Category Two status and then by the time our new training ground comes along we will certainly, from a facility perspective, be prepared for a Category One application,” Hallett explained.
“The three principle components for submission of each Category are based around facilities, staffing – have you got the right structure, have you got people of quality with the relevant qualifications and experience – and, finally, programming.
“This final element you are audited on very robustly. That’s everything from the way the coaching is delivered to the education and welfare programmes, and the sports science programmes.
“They also look at how these elements are integrated across the club, to ensure the Academy isn’t regarded as a separate entity.
“The guys on the ground here were doing the day-to-day work but, to be honest, we have not progressed things quickly enough as a club to meet the deadlines of the Premier League (to achieve Category Two status).
“It is my principle short-term role to address this.
“I have a lot of project management experience over the last eight years and there is something very appropriate about that in terms of the development of the Academy, particularly the new training ground.”
Hallett, who has spent many years working with national governing bodies of sport and implementing sports development pathways, is in the process of radically transforming QPR’s Academy set-up as the club looks to expand its youth team operation.
“We will be going from two full-time staff at the Academy to more than 20 in the space of a couple of weeks,” he revealed.
As part of this new structure, Steve Gallen has been named Professional Development Coach, primarily taking charge of the Under 18s.
Hallett added: “Steve’s substantial experience as a coach in this environment will be massively important to the club in terms of us moving forward.”