Morecambe have been rewarded by the EFL by way of the club’s commitment to fielding young players.
The Shrimps have benefited from the ‘EFL Futures’ scheme which handed out £750,000 to Football League clubs over the course of the 2016/17 season.
The money is handed out to clubs who provide starting opportunities in EFL fixtures for players aged under 21 and who are eligible to play for England.
Last season alone, Shrimps’ boss Jim Bentley handed starting appearances to Aaron McGowan and Luke Jordan - which meant they were eligible for the funding - as well as Everton loanee Antony Evans.
Almost all of the 72 EFL clubs benefited financially from the scheme with £304,000 going to clubs in League Two, £294,000 to League One sides and £152,000 to Championship clubs.
Of that £304,000 which went to clubs in League Two, it is unknown how much was paid to the Shrimps with the EFL unwilling to comment and no response from the club at the time of going to press.
“When we launched EFL Futures we discussed the need for a collective commitment to support the progression of young players into starting line-ups,” said EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.
“EFL clubs already play a big part in player development through the Academy system, but EFL Futures provides an additional incentive to give more playing opportunities to our young local footballers.
“We will continue to look at further ways to shape the ambition of providing a pathway from Academies into the first team.
“I’m sure that the payments will have a positive and lasting impact and that EFL Futures will deliver the required change in what is a hugely significant area for the long-term growth of the English game.”
The EFL Futures campaign is central to the EFL’s ambition to create opportunities for young playing talent and represents a collective commitment made by clubs to improve opportunities for home grown players.
This season, almost 10 per cent of appearances across the EFL were made by EFL Futures eligible youngsters.
Those appearances were made by 322 players from a pool of approximately 2,500 currently registered across the three divisions.
In addition, 80 per cent of all under 21 appearances within the EFL were made by players who qualify for the EFL Futures initiative.