Watford have confirmed they plan to downgrade their Academy from Category 1 status to Category 3.

The Watford Observer contacted the Hornets last week to ask the club to clarify their Academy status and the Hornets have this evening released the following statement.

Watford had applied for Category 1 status but the club's new owners have now decided they want to be a Category 3 Academy. 

It read: "Watford FC confirms that its Academy status planning within the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) scheme will be directed towards Category 3.

The Pozzo family stated, upon taking control at Vicarage Road , that it intends to continue the Academy values and traditions of producing talented, home-grown players.

"Nothing will divert us from this focus, but as a business we are choosing to pursue those goals within sensible investment parameters," said Hornets’ technical director Gian Luca Nani.

"Gianfranco Zola has said there will be always be a place in his squad for talented youngsters.

"There will be some change, inevitably, but all of the excellent practises that already exist will, wherever practical, be maintained and developed further."

This decision means that Watford FC ’s Academy have notified both the Football League and Premier League of its intention to withdraw from the Under-21 fixture programme with immediate effect.

The Under-21 fixture programme is mandatory at both Category 1 and 2 levels within the EPPP guidelines.

"The commitment of the club to young players remains the same," added Nani.

"We want the best for them and the best for Watford Football Club."

Revised Under-18 fixtures for the club will be re-drawn and published accordingly."

It is currently unclear what this decision will mean for Watford, or their Harefield Academy, with the club unavailable to comment when contacted by the Watford Observer this evening.

We will endeavour to bring you more tomorrow but supporters may be interested in reading the articles here  and here .