WYCOMBE Wanderers’ heralded youth academy has been scrapped ahead of a supporters group takeover of the club.

The move could leave Wanderers as the only one of 72 Football League clubs without a youth section feeding into the senior teams.

This is despite the club establishing a reputation for having one of the best academy systems in the Football League, producing players such as Wolves defender Roger Johnson and Blackpool winger Matt Phillips.

More than 30 members of staff at the academy face redundancy over the closure (see related links).

In a joint statement, the club and Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Trust cited "financial limitations" and the "increased demands" of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) - a new system for academies in England.

The Trust is set to take over the club from current owner Steve Hayes.

The statement said: “Whilst the current Centre of Excellence structure requires significant backing to operate each year, the new EPPP rules would demand increased investment to meet new criteria.

“The ruling will also see the introduction of a new policy for transfer fees for players under the age of 18.

“If a fee cannot be agreed between two clubs, a limit of around £70,000 will be the amount that Football League clubs will be able to receive for a player which it has spent time, effort and financial resources in developing.

“With this rule in place, the club expects that more and more fees will not be agreed and be settled under this new requirement.

“Wanderers were opposed to the EPPP from the outset, voting against the proposal at a meeting alongside fellow Football League clubs in October.

"However, the ruling was passed and the club believes it is certain to change the way in which Football League clubs are able to operate at youth level."

Though the EPPP will increase payments to all clubs for youth development, it has been widely criticised for favouring those in the Premier League.

The plan will see the introduction of a new four-tier academy system and, as part of the deal, set tariffs have been introduced to replace the tribunal system for the sale of home-grown players.

The joint statement added: “The long-term stability of the club is the number one priority and all resources are going towards ensuring the club is financially secure. Both parties understand this is extremely disappointing news, but it was unavoidable in ensuring the club becomes sustainable.

“The club will do all in its power to assist in helping players find new teams, whilst they also reserve the opportunity to offer professional contracts to selected scholars.

“The club would like to express their sincere gratitude to the staff, who will now be leaving as a consequence of the closure of the department, in helping to build a well-respected Centre of Excellence and wish them every success for the future.”

In the current squad, Matt McClure, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Anthony Stewart, Josh Scowen and Charles Dunne have all come through the ranks at Adams Park and made their first-team debuts in the last two years.

The academy also produced striker Jordon Ibe, who was sold to Liverpool last December, as well as winger Kadeem Harris, the League Two apprentice of the year in 2011, who joined Championship side Cardiff in January.