YORK City have been selected as one of just 22 clubs set to benefit from the National League Academy Licence.

The league has created the licence with the intention of encouraging player and staff development, as well as offering better player protection and helping clubs attract a higher calibre of young talents.

Clubs - of which there are 68 across the three National League divisions - were required to demonstrate criteria including suitability of coaching qualifications, facilities, education programme, safeguarding and medical provision.

Head of player development at the National League, Gary Owers said York put forward “an impressive application”.

He said: “All of our clubs are doing some really good work and no one recognises that so we put steps in place for them to achieve National League Football Academy status.

“It’s an opportunity to recruit better players. Players will know they are coming into an academy that has met certain criteria.

“We’re trying to get clubs better player protection.

“It’s known that clubs suffer because once players reach the 16, 17 age bracket, league clubs can take them for next to nothing.

“It’s a big step forward for the National League. It’s exciting and has been well-received. We’re in the first stages of it and hopefully it will get better and stronger.

“The National League and National League Youth Alliance is committed to Youth Development.

"As part of our ongoing strategic approach, we have implemented a scheme for clubs to demonstrate their own commitment to raising and maintaining standards in this area.

“The licensing process involved clubs meeting required criteria set by the National League.

“The aim of a National League Football Academy is to provide an environment and player pathway which allows clubs to develop and produce more and better home-grown players.”

A midfielder at Bristol City between 1995 and 1998 - when both York and the Robins were in the old Second Division - Owers added: “York City, on a personal level, I would love to see back in the Football League. I have many happy memories of playing there.”

The inaugural National League Football Academy season starts on September 11 and will be formed of two regional divisions, with 10 clubs in the north tier and 12 in the south.

The clubs will compete in an inter-divisional cup competition later in the season.

National League Football Academy North: Hartlepool United, York City, Guiseley, FC Halifax Town, Alfreton Town, AFC Fylde, Solihull Moors, Boston United, Chester, Darlington.

National League Football Academy South: Chippenham Town, Dartford, Hampton and Richmond Borough, Maidenhead United, Bromley, Woking, Weston, Super Mare, Boreham Wood, Dover Athletic, Sutton United, Oxford City, Aldershot Town.