Saturday, 1 June 2013

How the EPPP will affect Performance Analysis

By now most clubs will have had their EPPP assessment and many will have found out the grading they have been assigned. Of course over the last season most clubs have been playing in the structure set up by the Premier League and Football League and it seems to be a reasonable success so far.

If you Google EPPP there is actually very little information on the internet. 1 page on the Premier League site and a Wikipedia page along with some media reports. I thought this was strange but as seems to be typical in football a lot of what goes on is behind closed doors.

I recently managed to get a copy of the initial rules produced by the Premier League in how the EPPP would be governed (available to download via my Google Drive) and thought I would look to see how these affected the area I am in, Performance Analysis.

Most clubs use Performance Analysis as a matter of course these days, but it is interesting that the rules state the minimum number of analysts.

Rules 93-96 cover the number of analysts per club

93 – “Each club which operates a Category 1 Academy shall employ a minimum of two Full Time Performance Analysts”

94 – “Each club which operates a Category 2 Academy shall employ a minimum of two Performance Analysts, one on a Full Time basis and the other at least Part Time”

This is encouraging, although I am sure most clubs who have achieved Category 1 status already have 2 FT analysts (these tend to be the bigger clubs, in fact there are only a couple of clubs outside the Premier League who have achieved this). It’s a shame that there wasn’t the encouragement to have 2 Full Time analysts at Category 2 clubs, in fact as a proviso the league have felt the need to stipulate that clubs are able to have analysts who are on placement from a Masters Degree. Does this mean the League are encouraging unpaid internships without explicitly stating it? (see my previous post on this debate)

95 – “The Performance Analysts shall undertake Performance Analysis of Academy players registered with the club”

96 – “The Performance Analysts must undertake Continuous Professional Development organised by the club”

Both acceptable and encouraging. CPD is important in all walks of life, the LFE has organised a Diploma course at Northumbria University for analysts to continue learning. I have completed this course and while I’m glad I’ve done it, if you’ve done a degree (which is the minimum requirement for most clubs) it would be a complete waste of time. I have learnt 100 times more by reading articles from some of the more prominent posters on Twitter and trying to apply some of the theories myself than from this course. It doesn’t mention the number of hours of CPD required but for other roles it indicates 5 hours a year. Not much really so I suppose it is up to the analyst to want to continue to develop. Hopefully this won’t just be a case of learning how to use one of the analysis systems (such as Prozone, Gamebreaker, Dartfish etc that provide courses) but maybe attending conferences such as the Science & Football exhibition, courses such as the Sports Performance Level 3 provided by Navitas or expanding into using actual statistics in their analysis.

No mention of Category 3 or 4 clubs? Read on….

Unfortunately the Premier League have added another little guidance note which says if somebody in another role can do the job of the Performance Analyst then the club does not need to employ one. In most cases you would hope the club would want to employ a specialist in this area although I can see the advantages of combining this with a coaching role and such.

120 – “Each club operating a Category 1 or Category 2 academy shall:

120.1 – “Have such technical facilities as are necessary to undertake the Performance Analysis required of it by Rule 120.2”

120.2 – “Undertake Performance Analysis (including, in the case of a club which operates a Category 1 Academy, by undertaking GPS evaluation in the Professional Development Phase and in the Youth Development Phase if the Full Time Training Model is utilised) of training activity and matches in the Youth Development Phase Games Programme, the Professional Development Phase Games Programme and the Professional Development League”

120.3 – “Use the results of such Performance Analysis in its monitoring of the coaching and development of Academy Players in the Youth Development Phase and the Professional Development Phase”

120.4 – “Make available to the League such Performance Analysis data as it reasonably shall require  to undertake the benchmarking of data for that Academy of national trends”

Pretty standard, have facilities available, use analysis on training & games for all levels (including GPS analysis in Cat 1 academies), use the analysis to help with coaching and development and make the results available to the league. It doesn’t actually state what information the league would want so if they haven’t told you in advance to collect something how would you know the league wanted it?

121 – “Each club operating a Category 3 or Category 4 academy shall comply with Rule 120 but only in respect of players in the Under 17 to Under 18 age groups”

Finally! Mention of Performance Analysis for Cat 3 & 4 academies! No stipulation of staff to employ but encouraging that all clubs would need to analyse under 17 & under 18 age groups.

122 – “Subject to a club complying with Rule 120 or 121 and to a sufficient number of clubs likewise complying, the League will make available to it benchmarked data derived from comparing the Performance Analysis data it has submitted to the League with that submitted by other clubs (on an anonymised basis)

So hopefully the league will supply benchmarked data, although not stated what this is yet or likely to be it would be good to see how various KPI’s compared to that of other clubs.

There is also further guidance that the League are still developing this and will consult with clubs to formalise and add into the rules. They may have already done this, The set of rules I have were produced at the start of the 2012-13 season.

Just 2 more mentions of Performance Analysis in the whole document

186.4 – “The Sports Science & Medicine Programme of each club should detail the planned provision to each of its Academy players of at least the following areas – Performance Analysis (other areas include Sports Science, Physiotherapy, Medical Services & Psychology)

So let players know they are being analysed and how they can utilise it? Good stuff! In my experience a lot of Academy players are very interested in analysis, much more so than the older generations of players as they are becoming professional with it as a standard tool.

269.7 – The Match Analysis Suite must be

For Cat 1 & 2 – “A room large enough to hold 20 people and equipped with such appropriate video and IT technology as is necessary to undertake, and present the results of, Performance Analysis”

Cat 3 – “A Match Analysis suite is recommended but not mandatory”

Encouraging for Cat 1 & 2 academies, a little disappointing they have not at least said for Cat 3 & 4 there should be a 1-2-1 area where analysis can be delivered? Where is the encouragement of involving players if there is nowhere for them to view it?

That’s everything in the rules. Although they cover a lot of other areas it doesn’t look like EPPP is gonna be the boom for analysis that everybody though it would previously. There are a lot of people graduating from degrees or finishing internships looking for jobs and the number of jobs available does not seem to be growing with the number of analysts available. Basic Economies of Scale would dictate that isn’t sustainable and I have seen several cases recently where very talented analysts who can’t get a paid job are moving into other careers.

It would have been good for the Premier League to push for either a mandatory qualification (such as with Scouts requiring the FA’s Scouting Talent ID qualification) or at least a supporting body – Sport Scientists have the LMedA but Performance Analysis doesn’t really fit into this area.

At least Performance Analysis is beginning to become recognised by the League as an essential part of the football ethos, hopefully it will continue to thrive and be used comprehensively and outgrow the rules encouraging clubs to make better use of it.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Another great blog Dave, thanks for picking out the key points for us all to see easily. Let's hope it helps the industry to grow!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Dave.