JON FLATMAN has revealed that York City Knights will bid to create an Academy side at the next available opportunity.

York have never previously run an Academy side and the Knights chairman is keen for that to change once the renewal of the Academy licences are available in 2021.

Should they be granted a licence, York would be one of only four Championship clubs to run an Academy in the Super League Academy league.

London Broncos, Widnes Vikings and Bradford Bulls are the other club to run such youth sides.

Flatman sees the setting up of an Academy as a vital and cost-efficient way of producing players for the club’s first-team for its long-term future.

“First-team players don’t just pop up, and if they do pop up, you end up paying a lot of money for them,” Flatman told the club’s fans forum last week.

“The best way to have players that really want to play and contribute as well as those that deliver the best value for money for the club, is to produce them yourself through a pathway.

“An Academy concerns players aged 16 to 18 and in reality there’s only one type of an Academy.

“The licences won’t be up for renewal until 2021.

“Would we like an Academy? Absolutely.

“But we’ve got to wait until the next cycle comes around so that we can bid for an Academy.

“Now, we’ve got to put some processes in play that say that we’ve got the right quality of coaching, the right quality of individuals and the right quality of facilities.

“All the preparation that we’re doing is to ensure that we can bid for a licence when they come up.”

The Knights chief also went on to detail why the club decided not to run a reserves side for next season - saying to do so would have been a “vanity exercise”.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that running a Reserve-grade side would be mandatory for the English-based Super League clubs as well as Bradford, London, Newcastle Thunder and Widnes.

Flatman said that the Knights could have fielded a Reserves side but felt that do so would have stretched the resources of the local amateur clubs York Acorn and Heworth and their EXCEL programme graduates.

“We could have applied, and I believe we would have got, a Reserves team for 2020,” said Flatman.

“We would have had to prove that we have a pathway and, currently, the only way we do that is through our EXCEL programme.

“We only started that a short time ago, so we wouldn’t have had a huge amount of players coming in through that system.

“The way we would have got the franchise is through taking the best five players from Acorn, the best five players from Heworth, a few from the (New Earswick) All Blacks and our fringe first-team players.

“For me, all you would have done through that is strip the amateur clubs and ruined the investment into those clubs.

“In order to do what, just say that we’ve got a Reserves. It’d have been purely a vanity exercise.

“We decided to go with a tighter squad and increase the investment per player.

“We would support Heworth and Acorn and not strip them of their assets.

“And, as part of our pathway, we’d take a series of those players on trial throughout the year, to give them a taste of the first-team experience.

“We could have happily and easily put out a Reserves team, but it wouldn’t have right for this city and it doesn’t fit the model here.”

It was also stated at the club’s fans forum, by general manager Neil Gulliver, that the Knights’ Ladies side could feature in double-header matches alongside the first-team in 2020.